Re-Establishing the Sign Posts – ‘The Year of Equipping for Increase’
I just wanted to thank the dozen or so people who responded to last week’s editorial article about the signpost for 2018. It is really helpful to know that we are actually on this journey together and we are not just hearing, we are thoughtfully reflecting and praying about what God is showing us and how we might respond and even act. A reminder from the article, our First repaired sign post is, ‘DWELL in the Revelation that Christ has brought”
Second sign post being repaired this year, “Like Jesus Himself; with divine compassion, actually SEE AND ENGAGE the harvest as Jesus describes it”.
We Have made It Easier to Make Appointments
I have deeply appreciated the opportunity since before Christmas to meet with one or two of you a week to compare notes about what God might be saying to us as a church family. I look forward to confirming some more chats as soon as is possible for people.
We have made things a little easier recently by providing a link to an appointment diary on line via our web page. We will now provide the direct link with the other 3 links at the end of each weekly journal and you can have a go at making an appointment to see me yourself OR if that’s too scary, you can contact Donna and she can either help you do it OR work it out for you. Let’s catch up soon.
‘Full Throttle’ all the Way to New England
Our brother Jono rode his Harley through 4 weather seasons Friday a week ago to arrive for a couple of days of ministry in the town of Guyra, nestled between Armidale and Glen Innes in the New England region of northern NSW. Jono and his ‘Full Throttle’ Ministry was invited to speak and share testimony by a collaboration between the local ‘Full Gospel’ assembly known as “Freedom Church” and members of the Christian Motorcycle Association. We have continued this past couple of years to look to Jesus for a refinement of the shape of things for Jono in 2018, which has begun with this opportunity. A number of people were moved and challenged through his testimony sharing and openness to minister at a rally on Saturday evening. Jono also spoke and encouraged the “Freedom Church” congregation on the Sunday morning and the pastors of the church, Jeff and Sharon Ritchie, over the whole weekend. They have reported that they were blessed and built up in Christ personally and in the ministry they’ve been called to more than they have been for quite some time. As such, Jono has been invited to pray about the possibility of returning to the region to follow up last weekend’s ministry, maybe this time next year and we look forward to continuing to stand with and pray for the increase of what God is doing in and through Jono as we serve him together across the Illawarra. In looking at 2018, we are confident in Christ that He will strengthen the foundation laying work that was done prior to and since Jono was invited to become a full patch member and recognized chaplain with the Australian Chapter of ‘Bikers for Christ Ministries’ back in May 2017, through the staging of 3 chapel meetings since October and of course the weekly ‘Soul Recovery’ invitation to people struggling with addictions.
Heartland Ministries has made it possible for ‘Full Throttle Ministries’ to receive the benefits and the accountability of administered financial support through regular giving partners, so if you would like to offer a once off gift or even a regular offering to support and help develop this ministry, please deposit funds whenever the Lord leads you into Westpac account ‘Heartland Ministries’, BSB 032727, account number 203307. Please identify your deposit as ‘FTM Gift’ so we can account for the funds appropriately.
Corporate Prayer focus and HOPE College Updates
The following is some helpful information regarding NEXT SATURDAY’S ‘National Day of Prayer & Fasting’ and the ensuing 40 Days of Prayer Relay.
- I have registered Corrimal Community Church with the ‘National Day of Prayer’ team and this means that our ‘Prayer Lounge Area’ will be open for the duration of the event, 10am to 4pm. We will have access to the web cast for the 6 hour period so we can pray alongside all those connected to the national prayer meeting in Canberra. There will be other printed resources available and you are WELCOME to utilize this safe space to pray for our nation and our church for all or part of the time; come when you can and leave when you must. YOU DON’T HAVE TO COME TO THE PRAYER LOUNGE IF NOT POSSIBLE FOR YOU ON THE DAY, LET US KNOW YOU WILL BE PRAYING FROM WHEREVER YOU ARE AND THE TIME FRAME YOU CAN. I WILL BE ONE OF THOSE OFF CAMPUS PRAY-ERS SO LET’S CONNECT ANYWAY WE CAN.
- In conjunction with our season of STRATEGIC PRAYER for Cultivating the Culture of Heaven right where we are and HOPE College Community development (which MAY include regular Tuesday night equipping relationship development and tutorial support for study from sometime in March, I have initiated ‘The Prayer Group with Legs for HOPE’ to operate in the Prayer Lounge from 5.30pm – 6.30pm weekly from Tuesday 20th February. This corporate Prayer opportunity will be available in an ongoing time frame (as long as the Holy Spirit leads us) but it has also been registered as a ‘Closed Public Venue’ with the National ’40 Days of Prayer Relay’ and will utilize the prepared resources they provide during the 6 week national campaign. A ‘Closed Public Venue’ simply means the general public can contact us via the campaign and when we receive details we can invite them to join with us. 3. In the context of both of these campaign connected opportunities, of course you can visit nationaldayofprayer.org.au to register as an individual pray-er so you can receive the devotional guide resources for both NEXT SATURDAY and the 40 Days.
- If you would like to assist me in the coordination or simple facilitation of these opportunities, PLEASE TALK WITH ME ASAP.
HOPE College Schedule Information
We are proposing a ‘Taste and See’ College Orientation Boot Camp to be held over the weekend of February 23 -25. The idea is to provide brief and engaging (stand-alone) work shop introductions to the content of our study programme for 2018 to give all who might be interested a taste of our pilot discipling framework and what an equipping community could resemble and function like.
Friday 23rd February 7pm to 9.30pm
Saturday 24th February 9.30am to 1pm
Sunday 25th February 12pm to 2pm
- Registrations via a simple message to the Reception Phone answering machine (4285 5014) or via email to Donna; firstname.lastname@example.org that alerts us to your intention to be present at ONE, TWO or ALL THREE sessions ESSENTIAL by NOT LATER THAN Wednesday 21st February COB
- ALL sessions held on site at the Corrimal Community Church HUB
- iii. Coffee / Tea and Bikkies provided
- Cost is FREE but an opportunity will be given to make an offering
A Summary of this week’s message for Prayer, Devotional Reflection, Response and Action
The Series is … ‘Cultivating the Culture of Heaven On Planet Earth’
The THREE scriptures that form our reference points for this series
- Matthew 6: particularly* verses 5-15
- John 17: particularly* verses 13-26
- Acts 2: particularly* verses 42-47
* Context is everything so don’t just read the particularly referenced verses
Culture 6. ‘HEAVEN’S HUMILITY OVERCOMES THE US & THEM SYNDROME
Focus Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21; Ephesians 5:1-2; Philippians 2:1-9 (Read for context)
- a) Some Foundations and Context
‘Humility is such a frail thing that as soon as you think you have it, you’ve lost it’
Definition: Greek = ‘tapeinophrosune’ Literally ‘lowliness of mind’ applied in scripture as ‘modest’ OR more specifically having a clear understanding of one’s worth (Rom. 12 ) sober estimate, accept humble duties, regard all equally etc. IN Christ = another example of AND or 100% – 100% i.e. BOTH rightly estimate worth in people’s eyes but accept the Father’s value and love enough to die for status (based on ‘while we were still sinners’ (kingdom paradox)
Our Reference Scriptures Speak Loudly About ‘Humility’
Matthew 6: 9ff – Jesus frames the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ IN the culture humility. Our daily prayer focus or petition should NOT start with self. I.e. Our Father ….. Your Name …. Your Kingdom …
Even the actions this prayer heralds are focused on giving up our pride and focusing on forgiving OTHERS
Acts 2:42ff – in the life and mission of the first ‘church’ the scene is set as the people whose hearts had been cut by the message and were soft to the kingdom were ‘devoted’ beyond themselves
‘they devoted … to the apostles’ teaching … to the fellowship … to ALL believers … everything in common and no one had need … gladly did life together …favour of ALL … and even those the Lord added weren’t moulded to FIT IN with – (simply others’ needs first)
John 17:13ff – in Jesus’ prayer for His followers it’s all about His joy IN THEM, THEIR protection, ‘I sanctify myself’ Jesus says, ‘that they too may be truly sanctified’.
The whole prayer about a ONE-NESS that blesses, protects and resources OTHERS
- b) Like our need to be filled with the Divine Compassion, we need to be filled with the divine Humility so the fragrance & taste of Jesus is experienced
Keys to Jesus’ (divine) Humility from Philippians 2
- (vs 1-4) Compassion from fellowship IN the Spirit (heaven) = do NOTHING out of selfish ambition / deceit – consider OTHERS interests and needs as priority (cf. last week, Matt. 9 = result of compassion driven humility is THE CHRIST seeing the sheep as SO important that THEIR Needs deserved ALL the resources heaven could muster (ask the Lord to send workers)
- (vs 5-7) Attitude = same as Christ Jesus (whoa … pause) Specifically
- Didn’t grasp (deserved equality)
- Made HIMSELF nothing
- Taking the VERY nature of a servant
- HIS humility = obedience TO DEATH
God exalted Him = The name above ALL names
‘The visible FRUIT of heaven is evidence of divine HUMILITY’
c) Speaking of visible fruit being evidence of heaven
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Yes … this is one of the many scriptures that basically describe ‘The HOPE Project’ – i.e. give our ‘rights’ UP so Christ can be seen by those who can’s see the forest for the trees. BUT let’s look closer …..
Jesus commanded His followers to love (John 13, 1 John 4) and He commanded us not to judge (Matt 7, John 12).
Yet as Christians (whether we like it or not) we are known outside of the ‘Church’ as arrogant, judgmental, and intolerant (not always fairly – but then why would we defend what’s FAIR when Jesus didn’t) – my over sensitive sense of justice is a huge issue for me but I need to learn how to BE Jesus – Humble & obedient to the Cross means He just loved.
So … what do we need to learn here
When I was pre-prayering for this message there were moments in my reflections when I could have easily approached this culture of humility negatively … WHY? Christians ARE at times confronted by the IDOLS of the convictions of their past when journeying in fellowship with each other. I can recount a few times over the years when UNSEEN or UNREALIZED idols within people (including myself) caused massive stand offs when trying to play my part (my calling) to move churches forward to represent MORE of the gospel … BUT the culture of humility ACTIVELY SPEAKS INTO my selfish nature AND MAKES ME TEACHABLE in life changing ways
So, I looked at the positives that have been evidenced in fruit in this last or most recent season in my life and ministry ALL BECAUSE I have tried to stay TRUE to ALWAYS measuring any issue of ministry development against the life of Jesus and no longer against what I myself, or anyone else thinks is ‘THE RIGHT AND TIME TESTED WAY TO DO THINGS’
I used to ignore the Holy Spirit when back in the early days of youth ministry, He would loudly speak to me about NOT keeping doing things just because they WORKED but rather, the wisdom I received from the Father was to take EVERY successful thing we did and evaluate it in the light of Christ and His purposes alone.
It took me quite a few years of kicking and screaming as well as a season of not believing ministers and or churches even represented heaven before Jesus showed me the following REVELATION which I share with you today …..
“THE HUMILITY THAT LOOKS MOST LIKE CHRIST IS THE HUMILITY THAT LOOKS AT EVERY PERSON AND EVERY MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY THROUGH THE LENS OF THE CROSS –
THE CROSS BEING THE ONLY MEASURE”
In the focus scriptures we’ve previously looked at today, we’ve clearly learned that to have our heart shaped with divine humility is
- To cultivate the mind and attitude of Christ (Phil.2)
- To empty ourselves of SELF and righteous authority (Phil.2)
- To recognise that IN Christ we can’t see ANYONE as less (Phil.2)
- To not judge as the world judges (Matt 7 & Jn 12)
- To recognize as Paul did, that our sins are probably greater than others (Rom.7;2Cor.5) ….. And so on
BUT HERE’S WHERE THE LIGHT TURNED ON FOR ME
(Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
This is the prayer I wrote when I finished journaling in preparation for this message. …. Dear Lord Jesus, we commit our hearts to you for surgery, so that we can SEE and ENGAGE the harvest, those all around us, with YOUR humble heart and not with our strained efforts. Every obstacle that separated people from God the Father has been removed by Your death and resurrection, & THEREFORE if we keep looking at people the way the world see’s people, if we don’t see every person through the “magnifying lens” of the cross, then we are acting disobediently and intentionally opposite to Your primary purpose. We are to see people as loved by Your father God, enough for Him to HUMILIATE himself in human form, dying in our place and making all things new.
There is no “us & them” thinking in the context of the cross. There is one new humanity in Christ Jesus – no male or female, no Jew or Gentile, no slave or free… and absolutely no place for us to think of ourselves as the ones who have all the truth or best practice or the appropriate levels of righteousness. Purge us of the idols produced by knowledge, pride and religious tradition and BE our standard measure for everything. Lord, I want this to be the way we lead and serve, the way we welcome and host, the way we care and disciple. Humble enough to die so the lost can SEE. In Jesus love and for His names’ sake …. Amen
In these coming weeks our whole leadership discovery and development process will stem from this week’s discussion but in the meantime pray about the following and write down anything you receive from God and believe you need to work on – maybe share with a trusted fellow worker and pray for each other
- Why do YOU think the church in general has stood in judgement over others instead of loving and serving them?
- If you are being totally honest, do you think you currently value humility, sacrifice and love enough to stop judging people, and deciding instead to ask God for love to flow through you to them? If not at this time, what do you think might be holding you back?
- What is one specific way that you will be intentional this week about “ascribing worth to others at cost to yourself” rather than “ascribing worth to yourself at cost to others”?
Let’s chat ….
Here’s the Link to What’s Happening at the HUB this week http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/7-click-here
Here’s the Link to this week’s Prayer Diary for The HOPE Project http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/9-click-here
Here’s the Link to HOPE College, Student information & Application Process http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/10-click-here
Here’s the Link to Graeme’s Available Weekly Calendar Times https://graeme2.youcanbook.me/