Monday 24th September 2018
A Summary of This Week’s Keynote Message for Prayer, Reflection & Response. Signpost: See & Engage the Harvest
Theme: ‘What it takes to move from Revelation Space INTO Fulfilment Space?’ Pt 2
Reference Scriptures –Luke 5:17- 26; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6; Ephesians 6:10-20
Speaker: Graeme Hush
Preparing for the ‘Spring 2018 Campaign’
We’ve been exploring the language of heaven (as spoken on the earth by Jesus);
We’ve been considering the cultural and language emphases of the spheres of involvement and influence that we are connected to and perhaps have been given a missionary responsibility for;
We’ve been interpreting revelation received through our ‘intentional’ corporate prayer time over the past couple of months i.e. The Kingdom of God is like a SAFE place
In light of this revelation in particular we’ve re-engaged with the work of the Cross, the work of reconciliation which in simple terms is creating a safe place IN Christ by making Him accessible.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve looked again at the KEY strategies of Jesus – the Father’s master plan or Primary Purpose “(Jesus) … builds His church – the one that the gates of hell cannot prevail against” and recognized again that the strategies that Jesus used flowed FROM THE BREATH OF HIS SPIRIT NOT OUR SMARTS … we further saw
How these strategies were empowered by the Holy Spirit as the early church started to gain favour as recorded in ACTS. We were reminded that …
“There are two connected realms of reality – a heavenly & dark (eternal) spiritual realm and a material earthly (temporal) realm.
The spiritual realm controls the material or temporal realm Jesus gives us ‘the keys to the kingdom of heaven’ and when we use these keys ON EARTH we will impact (bind and loose) what happens in the spiritual realm AS WAS TRUE FOR JESUS
WE ARE KEY HOLDERS & WE GIVE OTHERS ACCESS …
In all of this we became aware once more that if we genuinely have a WORD FROM HEAVEN then we will have to CONTEND. The battle is NOT against flesh and blood and our weapons are NOT of this world. Contrary to all that humans are taught by the kingdom of this world
So; if we are fighting people we are fighting the WRONG enemy.
Last week then we had a quick CHECK-UP to monitor what weapons and what armour we are being equipped with for this particular season which we can view as a battle field that needs to be engaged OR as an unclimbed peak that needs to be conquered.
Our weapons ARE our armour … Truth – Righteousness – Gospel – Faith – Salvation – Word – Prayer
Choose a metaphor; they are both helpful in slightly different ways.
i.e. What is the kingdom of heaven on earth like?
Now we’ve aligned the two revelatory ideas of Battle Field and Unclimbed Peak, I’m going to stick with Climbing an unclimbed peak
(INSERT HERE THE PIC OF GUY PUNCHING THE AIR AFTER REACHING THE SUMMIT)
We learned that we need to contend for the word from heaven to be revealed in AND through us … we reflected on a prophetic word that the things God has promised us in a less safe time are now coming to fruition … So …
Let’s faithfully move from ANTICIPATION (Moses) to REALIZATION (Joshua) OR from REVELATION SPACE into FULFILMENT (COMPLETION) SPACE
Is the Holy Spirit nudging you to become a backyard missionary – to join a summiting team to start planting and watering new ‘Communities of HOPE’ across our spheres of influence?
In Friday’s daily ‘Rising HOPE’ journal blog, I encouraged us to keep seeking equipping from the Holy Spirit and as an exercise to keep reading gospel stories and learning how Jesus contended for the word He’s received from heaven.
Luke 5: 17-26
(the bolded words in brackets are the armour/weapon and the bracketed verses at the end of each question are the verses that stood out to me, revealing how Jesus used the armour/weapons to contend for the word from heaven or ‘His kingdom come’ – so spend some time this week reading through this exercise and noting the things revealed by prayerfully considering the verses revealed to Graeme as a starting point for more discovery)
- 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? (vs 17, 20)
- 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? (vs 17, 22-24)
- What is the good news (Gospel) message for this situation and how did Jesus proclaim it? (vs 24)
- What did Jesus have (Faith) to believe Father God would do in this situation and how did He express obedience and trust in God? (vs 25, matched THEIR faith in vs 20)
- If Jesus’ identity, significance and security come from heaven (Salvation), what do you think He was freely able to express in this situation? (vs 20-24)
- What did God SAY (Word) about the circumstances in the story and how did Jesus respond? (vs 17b, 24b – ON earth)
- Did Jesus use the context of (Prayer on every occasion), that is intimate communion/communication/community with the Father in this event? (vs 17b, 22 – discerned, cross reference vs 16)
OK, so we are confronted with the cliff face that leads to the Summiting Camp (the one the team summits from and returns to) and it can be like the Khumbu Ice Fall has followed us up the incline and its impact is still being felt.
Before us, there are seeming abyss’s, steep rock faces, unstable juts or tors, ledges that have near impossible angles for access, thinning air, the ever present danger of storms, looming darkness, extreme temperature shifts, grave sites from previous attempts … AND These are just the externals – we haven’t even begun to deal with the intrinsic stuff like fear & other emotional and mental issues, health & well-being, questions about appropriate tools and preparation, false positives from the echoes of a christian default culture (which really looks and acts more like human nature) and so on and so on ….
If I am a member of this summiting team, the things I need to focus on are the things that we’ve been discovering …
- Jesus builds HIS church as the Primary agency for kingdom advancement and He gives us keys to receive revelation about it so we can have a go at playing OUR PART IN IT …. (not by might, nor by power BUT by my Spirit says the Lord)
- If The Church is the agency, then we need to establish Communities of Heaven On Planet Earth and NOT just exercise Ministries or perform works of Signs & Wonders.
NB: Ministries & Signs and Wonders are TOOLS and are SERVANTS of Jesus to BUILD HIS CHURCH and NOT TO BECOME THINGS IN THEMSELVES (refer our Luke 5 story today – Jesus demonstrating His kingdom which is represented by His Body) …. More soon to clarify this
So … my preparation and the flow on of that to my team needs to regard the following at the VERY LEAST
Jesus’ body is the essential nature of the Church He builds;
‘To withstand & conquer the gates of hell’ is the essential function of the Church Jesus builds;
‘To advance God’s kingdom (rule) on earth as it IS in heaven is the essential purpose of the Church Jesus builds and
‘To reproduce … that is to plant Churches / Communities of HOPE is the primary strategy or campaign of the Church Jesus builds …
Jesus gives me ‘keys to the kingdom of heaven’ that flow from the breath of His Spirit and not out of any CLEVER thinking on my part
I need to be equipped in Jesus’ keys and strategies which refer to cultivating the culture of heaven which is sharpened and focused by Jesus priorities, His be-attitudes His core values if you like that define our identity IN Christ … summarized in the following way
- DENY SELF (It’s not try to put others first J)
- CARRY WHATEVER THE BURDEN (Not – it’ll be rosy)
- FOLLOW JESUS (Not be occasionally inspired by Jesus from afar)
This job description reveals KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)
And we looked at a ‘primary’ KPI – Ministry (work) of Reconciliation which is the selfless, identification with the word received from heaven that creates the place for ACCESS
If we are KEY HOLDERS who give Kingdom of Heaven ACCESS to OTHERS (work of reconciliation) THEN … We need to
- Identify the cultural icon or centre of the sphere(s) we are responsible for and the language that defines that culture
- Learn the language of heaven that describes the best picture of what the kingdom of heaven is like – FOR THAT SPHERE
- Learn to contend for the word from heaven as Jesus and then the Holy Spirit through the followers of Jesus did – I.e. say YES, SUBMIT, step from revelation space into fulfilment space and put on the FULL armour of God which is both complete defence AND the NOT OF THIS WORLD weapons or tools that we NEED for the battle – or the climb.
The most effective way to be equipped is
Jesus (apostle) does it – I submit
Jesus (apostle) does it – I engage
I do it – Jesus (apostle) engages
I do it – Jesus (apostle) voluntarily submits
THIS PROCESS CREATES A MISSION WHICH IS BASED ON THE APOSTLE’S TEACHING (Kingdom Gospel) AND AS SUCH IS SUSTAINABLE AND REPRODUCIBLE
So, HERE WE GO … the David Willersdorf event next Sunday (is a catalyst) and during this week each day’s ‘Bed Post’ will represent my preparation for ONE of my spheres of involvement / influence that God has asked me to be a ‘missionary’ to and with.
I am mindful that We need to SEE (examples) so we can better understand and engage.
We won’t be launching the ‘Communities of HOPE (Summiting) Campaign by events and words BUT by the above process …
Tuesday 25th September 2018 (Luke 1:26-38)
Happy Birthday Doreen!
As mentioned on Sunday, this week I want to explore WITH YOU, how this YES! SUBMIT! CONTEND! process works in the context of your / my everyday spheres of involvement and perhaps influence as apportioned by God.
We have been building up our stocks by taking gospel stories where Jesus contended for the kingdom of heaven ON earth and learning from him. It has been terrific to receive feedback from quite a few of you about how this has been helpful but one of the stand out things I’m hearing is … ‘what does a community of HOPE look like, in comparison to a weekly bible study OR a common interest group?’
This is an excellent question and reflection. There are a number of ways to look at this so I will choose the one I alluded to in this week’s message, the idea that we need to press on beyond the ‘individual or small group performing a ministry or running a program’ paradigm and allow Jesus to BUILD HIS CHURCH, HIS BODY IN COMMUNITY so that when the ministry or program stops, kingdom advancement doesn’t. Let me unpack this a little.
What I am about to share is definitely a generality. It is not always true BUT if you and I are honest, it IS more often the case than we might want to admit. If the main focus of our evangelism is to invite people we know to an excellent event, service or program, what you win people with, you win them to. In other words, unless people who come to a program have a genuine encounter with Jesus and some revelation of heaven, when you stop doing the ministry a certain way OR you just don’t achieve the same level of quality or excellence in a presentation – sadly in many cases people either go looking somewhere else for the same ‘high’ or ‘buzz’ OR they gradually drift off.
This is NOT to say that it is never worth inviting people to special events. It IS however, really important that what is being presented is something that was led by the Holy Spirit and not just a great idea that we worked hard to get God to agree with and get people to turn up at.
Here’s another aspect of it. If the whole of the missional effort of a local church revolves around one or two weekly meetings that need a lot of input and resource, then it will only grow and reproduce proportionally to the people that can actually produce the weekly event. A person like me who had no church background whatsoever apart from being sent to Sunday School because it was the ‘socially acceptable’ thing to do will often become enculturated into the weekly church culture because it is the primary focus and steadily become more and more impotent as far as being effective in ‘non-church’ world. It’s not a criticism for criticism’s sake, it’s a sociological reality.
In the interests of keeping my promise to keep these daily blogs short enough to be useful, I’ll leave that with you to ponder over and pray into and take it further tomorrow.
Wednesday 26th September 2018 (Acts 4 – 8)
Happy birthday Sharon!
By Acts 7, the early church had started to have the sorts of human shaped and controlled/dominated challenges that I was suggesting yesterday. The believers had shifted from being the ones that Acts 2:42-47 describes through until the ‘let’s take back something of who we are, moment in time’ described in Acts 5. Arguments began to be common simply because the focus was internal and not on the world that remained in desperate need of the gospel. They had stopped looking on the harvest with compassion.
A handful of faithful apostles and companions were still making a bit of a difference but the kingdom battle stepped up because Saul was able to target believers as the arguments raged. The believers were scattered (known as the diaspora or dispersion) to the four corners of the earth but the Holy Spirit intervened and empowered the ‘apostello’ or the everyday believers who were scattered (sent) to the frontier, to recapture the heart of God’s purpose for the known world and as it indicates in Acts 8, preached or represented and demonstrated (as ambassadors) the word (Jesus) everywhere they found themselves – i.e. the spheres of their new existence.
How is it that I am confident that from this time on it was churches or communities of HOPE that were growing and multiplying and not just an increase of individual believers all over the place?
By Acts 15, this is what Paul was doing … ‘He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.’ And by Acts 16 … ‘So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.’ And by really late in Paul’s life and work … ‘They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them’ and ‘All the churches of Christ send greetings. (Rom. 16) and so on.
On Sunday 7th October (after we all put our clocks forward one hour the night before), I want to share some thoughts about the biblical i.e. kingdom of God difference between exercising a ministry and planting a community of HOPE that Jesus builds but for now let me finish today’s journal with this.
Over recent years (since I started clearly having and dwelling in this HOPE Project revelation), a number of peers in ministry, on more occasions than I can remember have said something to me akin to the following. ‘Mate, you have a bunch of ministry gifts / tools at your disposal. For whatever reason they say (which I have always wondered about), God has seen fit to apportion you with gifts and abilities that can open up a frontier of ministry work and church growth outcomes. Why don’t you just exercise a whole bunch of ministry work in a number of target scenarios and send them to churches around the place?’
My answer has been (and without being condescending), ‘unless the Lord builds His house, the builders labour in vain’ (Ps. 127). Jesus builds the church, not my abilities however useful they may or may not be. My church might have some use and success in discipling BUT the church Jesus builds primarily focuses on producing kingdom people who form a body that crashes down the gates of hell and declares, represents and demonstrates the ONLY thing that can transform lives, communities and NATIONS.
Whatever tools God empowers me to use, they have to look like Jesus and introduce people to the miraculous community building resources of heaven or we are doing something short term and not eternal.
I am going to share some examples now about how I address the need to move from Revelation Space into Fulfilment Space – the YES – SUBMIT – CONTEND process.
Thursday 27th September 2018 (1 Corinthians 9)
Happy Birthday Marie!
Since discovering this kingdom advancing truth, I have intentionally used the following idea to practice moving from Revelations Space into Fulfilment Space – ‘advancing the kingdom of God through community engagement’ or in short, ‘Engage2Advance’. The latter slogan I have placed as a sign above just about everywhere I walk from and into just to make sure I remember that this is how the job I’ve been called to gets done.
Now, in fairness, I haven’t been as active in the past few years as I was previous to that because I believe God called me to East Corrimal to encourage a group of people who believed that they were being told by God to DO something that would ensure that the kingdom of God advanced in their neighbourhoods as a legacy to the church’s calling over the years it has been located in the residential area near Towradgi Creek.
I have however, kept my fingers in a few spheres and opened the doors on a few others so that when the Holy Spirit made it clear, I would be able to re-engage with this ‘Engage2Advance’ promise and is so doing, use my spheres as training opportunities for any who might be ready to have a go.
One of my previous spheres that I have kept my fingers in for a time such as this, (i.e. I am praying about how to open it up in the Wollongong Region) is a thing I’ve referred to as ‘Life Celebrants’. Celebrating life’s important seasons with events has always and will always be a doorway into people’s lives; particular the arenas of their lives that they are primarily concerned with. Events like weddings, baby dedications, funerals, birthdays and anniversaries etc. will always hold a great deal of weight when it comes to making a mark in life that is accessible and measurable.
I am currently seeking the Holy Spirit’s help with how this could work as a tool to build communities of HOPE as we enter this new season here in the Illawarra BUT I have faithfully continued to represent and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven to the 160 couples from the just over 400 wedding ceremonies that I performed between 2006 – 2013 who wanted to see more of Jesus and CHOSE to stay connected. Over 95% of the weddings I am referring to were between people who had no living daily expression of faith and had no connection now or in the past with any existing expression of ‘church’. There were a handful that had a small window of exposure to Christendom BUT it either wasn’t positive for them or for someone they knew. The vast majority of couples however, represented the secular society that Australia has become and when the suggestion was made to them that it was possible for them to be married by a registered minister, in the sight of ‘God’ even though they had no relationship with a ‘church’, they chose to go down THAT road.
I would love to be able to say that I found some key couples to equip and they have gone on to establish communities of faith or HOPE in Canberra BUT even though there have been a couple of attempts to go down that path and in another couple of cases they actually did find a way to connect to an existing church; I have stayed connected to these wonderful people in the hope that God will show a clear way still, for them to be discipled in a loving community that Jesus is building.
Before leaving Canberra, I did experiment with a couple of interesting ways to move towards such a community building season, using McDonalds Party Rooms to create safe and accessible spaces for kingdom conversations which I invited couples to in 5 different locations around the ACT; one a day consistently each week for 3 months and it DID start to make a difference. So, I know that’s a possibility.
I will leave this discussion of ideas with the reality of how important the YES – SUBMIT – CONTEND process was in the context of this sphere. To move outside the usual parameters of an existing church culture to establish an entry point for non-church people to be married and have their children dedicated was a much BIGGER deal to submit to than you might imagine.
Tomorrow I will look more closely at the weapons/tools and armour but for now I’d like to share one thing I have heard from God as I’ve sought His input about re-engaging ‘Life Celebrants’ as a tool for declaring, representing and demonstrating the kingdom of heaven in a few spheres in our region of influence. The Holy Spirit reminded me that we have been given a primary task and that is to equip those who will equip and so on. My hope and prayer therefore is that we might train some of our willing and available ‘missionaries’ to be ‘Life Celebrants’. More soon …
Friday 28th September 2018 (Eph. 6:10-20; Col. 1; Matt. 5-7)
To wrap this week up, I want to continue on from where I left off yesterday. Our primary task in all God has called us to as we step into the unknown is to ensure we journey with people that we invite to be equipped as we journey. So, I share with you from my own life and work in the hope that something of that will refine, even sharpen your own responses to the call. This idea is aligned with the message from Sunday. I finished with a small grid diagram of the way Jesus and the apostles equipped. They DID, the believers observed and offered feedback. They DID, the believers engaged. The believers were sent to DO, the apostles engaged. The believers DID, the apostles observed and consulted.
With regard to the ‘Life Celebrant’ initiated sphere that I was reflecting on yesterday, what was the YES-SUBMIT-CONTEND process that had to be engaged for breakthrough to occur?
So, in the same way we have been learning from Jesus about how to contend for the word from heaven, let’s ask the same questions about this sphere of mission. As before, words bolded in brackets are the armour/weapons/keys to the kingdom that Jesus used and my answers to the issues raised.
NB: I won’t use actual examples to avoid the problems that can cause. The summaries may not be as useful as they would be with examples but in a closer equipping relationship that blog journals can’t achieve, these things could be worked through with far more detail.
I’ve also focussed on marriages but there is so much more to share in the sphere of baby ceremonies.
- 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?
That ALL people have access to the resources, favour and increase of heaven and we should do all we can NOT to put un-heaven like or religious culture barriers in the path of people searching for God’s truth.
- 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?
The strongholds are consistent with the sorts of battles that rage between the kingdoms with regard to marriage; being anything that challenges marriage as a God ordained relationship framework (for family etc. ) In this particular sphere, one of the key barriers has been ‘am I even allowed to be marrying people that don’t have a faith or identifiable church background?’ The attitudes and motives are compassion, humility, love, hope, the rightness that accompanies being IN Christ rather than trying to manufacture something externally and more. Those who believe that the answer to kingdom of heaven rule is a Christian worldview being enforced on another’s worldview is not only anathema, it is a massive stronghold in this sphere.
- What is the good news (Gospel) message for this situation and how did I proclaim it?
God wants to bless marriage and anyone who cries out to God will be given favour; even those who don’t fully understand the battle they are in. Jesus died and rose again so ALL have access – whether they accept it or not.
- What did I have (Faith) to believe Father God would do in this situation and how did I express obedience and trust in God?
I received a vision to represent Jesus (and not something else) and I did that with the hope that people would be blessed and find favour and a whole bunch of good things that I could only hope they’d engage. In faith and obedience to the vision from heaven I went after setting up this framework even in the midst of some opposition and some ridicule.
- If my identity, significance and security come from heaven (Salvation), what do you think I was freely able to express in this situation?
Boldness to speak and act clearly based upon what I knew would be a view of Jesus that people in the situations described don’t (sadly) normally see.
- What did God SAY (Word) about the circumstances in the sphere and how did I respond?
It is a myth that people don’t want God to be an important if not central part of their marriage. Given the opportunity to be exposed to the kingdom of heaven truth, people WILL respond and engage the opportunities it affords. This was a word worth contending for.
- Did I use the context of (Prayer on every occasion), that is intimate communion/communication/community with the Father in this event? I used all forms of prayer myself AND invited supporters to contend on my and the couples’ behalf for breakthrough and victory. The other side of the Prayer (weapon/armour) is that people want to be prayed for (another myth i.e. that they don’t that needs to be contended for) and offering prayers of intercession, faith and blessing / protection were key parts of both the offering to couples and the language that painted a clearer picture of heaven. People were often challenged by the idea that God would even WANT to bless them.
Anyway, hopefully there is something there to challenge, inspire, equip you as you listen for a vision from heaven to be and create safe spaces for people you come in contact with to meet Jesus and as such be confronted with the need to respond in some way.
I exhort all called out ‘backyard missionaries’ and those who haven’t responded to that call as yet. IF we are prepared to say YES, SUBMIT and move from REVELATION space to FULFILMENT space, the Lord will add daily, those who are BEING saved.’
Here’s the Link to the home page for all that’s happening with the HUB, including Daily Prayer Points, Event Updates, Weekly Activities in or around the Hub, FAQ’s & General Info. & Weekly Sermon Summaries … https://www.corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog