Prayer that Changes our Hearts, Can and Will Change the World

  1. This was and is always the focus of the Annual ‘World Day of Prayer’ which occurred last Friday, the first Friday of March each year. There were a record number of gatherings to mark the event across our area and at least 5 of our faithful church family members met with 70 or 80 others for a wonderful time of Prayer, Encouragement and Fellowship, led and hosted by our brothers and sisters at St Columbkille’s Catholic Church in Corrimal. This year’s prayer focus was the North Eastern South American Country of Suriname. If you’d like to know more about this ‘Informed Prayer and Action’ effort that spans 170 countries of the world, visit
  2. ‘The Prayer Group with Legs for HOPE continues to meet on TUESDAYS 5.30pm for about an hour in the Prayer Lounge. As part of the National 40 Day Prayer Relay, we are sharing testimony of changed lives and prepared harvest fields that are ripe and ready. I believe they have always been ripe and ready but when we pray FOR the Lord to release workers into the harvest, our heart attitudes are aligned with the kingdom of heaven and when this happens, a crucial stumbling block to the advance of the kingdom of God is removed. A renewed hunger for God generally accompanies an obvious change in the hearts of ‘followers of Jesus’ because people begin to see past the distractions and into the heart of heaven. As an outcome, people are drawn towards Jesus rather than something else which can’t measure up. This is the premise undergirding our current corporate prayer effort.
  3. We have been asked to help facilitate a gathering THIS COMING FRIDAY EVENING that attempts to bring together, the prayer efforts of many churches connected to the ‘prayer relay’ and in this particular case, those in the Illawarra region. In an atmosphere of praise and worship, we will touch heaven together and ‘in one accord’, open up our hearts for the Holy Spirit to minister to the body of Christ and through the body to the region.

5.30pm to 6.30pm this coming and every Tuesday evening

‘The Prayer Group with LEGS for HOPE’. If you can’t get there, text me on 0418 297 504 and let me know you would like to be a part of our corporate effort from wherever you are and we’ll journey it together the best we can.

7pm THIS Friday 9th March at the Port Kembla Baptist Church amenities on the corner Illawarra & Cowper Sts 

A regional ‘Prayer, Praise and Worship’ Gathering

March is ‘MOVING MONTH’ (LeaderSHIFT 2018 Update)

Yes, apologies for another sporting analogy but it helps me get focus for these weeks we are living in. The 3rd day of a golf tournament or cricket test is colloquially known by commentators as ‘moving day’ OR in AFL football it’s the 3rd Quarter (sometimes referred to as championship quarter). This simple idea refers to a pattern that emerges when players or teams step efforts up or refine their strategy for the match in such a way that they ‘move up the leadership board’ OR do enough to put themselves in an unassailable position prior to the final chapter of the tournament or match so that it doesn’t come down to ‘chance’ at the end. The ‘Moving’ phenomenon is always an intentional focus and effort and the reason why it is a useful handle for our purposes. Corrimal Community Church is at a strategic cross road in the first quarter of this ‘Year of Equipping for Increase’ in light of the fact that Christ has promised us by various indicators that this is graduation year or the season when the Lord will (at some point) add daily to (the kingdom’s) number, those who are being saved.

One of the KEY needs for us right now and the focus of our ‘March IS Moving Month’ strategy, is a leadership development framework that will not only support our vision and mission effort BUT will sustain it and reproduce it in the time to come.

As appropriate as a leadership that consists of a handful of affirmed deacons in partnership with a minister might have been for the previous season, we don’t believe it is how the early church operated throughout its growth and multiplication phase, so we don’t think it is a tenable framework for us either.

We DON’T pretend to know what the leadership we need looks like as yet BUT we DO believe that it needs to represent the ‘Divine Dance’ that exists in heaven because at the very least, that is the leadership framework that sent Jesus into the world and we simply want to look and operate like that; a body that sends Jesus shaped missionaries into the world around us, aligning things to God’s heaven. So, we will search God’s living written word to discover what THIS sort of leadership looks like and then set about doing it.

The last thing ‘the church’ needs is for us to ignore what this new and developing intimacy with Jesus is opening up for us; continuing to do what we’ve done for years, believing it is a process from heaven, when it simply may not be the case. We are compelled to check the pulse of this new, developing relationship and NOT go to sleep thinking that we have ALL that Jesus wants to reveal to us. As the scripture indicates, the mystery of the kingdom is within our grasp BUT we know from our experience of any and all our relationships that we can’t take this for granted – we can’t just coast without continuing to work for the best expression of what this relationship can look like. There is always more.

So … yesterday we simply started outlining what leadership of the body of Christ could and should look like if it follows the pattern of our head, even Christ.

Our hope for the next few weeks is that we discuss our leadership needs as a whole church family, with a view to aligning these needs with the mission we have been called to engage AND with what the bible says Jesus shaped leadership should look like.

We invite you to engage this process by praying and reflecting upon the questions at the end of the message summary each week and either email or text me OR bring to a Sunday or other day gathering, ANY thoughts or responses you have so we can facilitate a ‘WHOLE’ local church body response and make solid, kingdom of heaven like decisions about how we will develop the church’s leadership as soon after Easter as is appropriate.

Thank you all for being a part of this. We regard those whom we share physically with on a regular/weekly basis as well as those who have decided to join with us on the journey from wherever you are located as people we would value input from. We will weigh and measure ALL input against Christ and the things He has been consistently revealing to us these past few years. We will utilize the discernment and alignment that comes from recognized apostolic and prophetic foundations that God has planted amongst us. This is NOT about everyone having a say for the sake of it; it is about all who are committed to partner with us, bringing what we have (not what we haven’t) to the table for us to share and grow from, with the belief that what we end up doing will be as close to Heaven On Planet Earth as is possible for our situation and circumstances.

A Summary of this week’s message for Prayer, Reflection, Response & Action             The Series is … ‘Cultivating the Culture of Heaven On Planet Earth’

Cultures 9 (Part 1)

 ‘CHURCH LEADERSHIP – The Divine Dance Expressed on Earth AS IT IS in Heaven’

Our FOCUS Scriptures are Matthew 6:5-15, John 17 and Acts 2 as ever (worth a re-read for this context) and we will add Philippians 2:5-11 and Mark 1 for today’s reflection specifically.

Firstly, a reminder from our previous reflection as a church family on this idea of ‘Divine Dance’. In summary, it is ‘the inner life of God’ expressed as the trinity (so we can understand it a little) but drawn from the Greek idea called PERICHORESIS. .

The inner life of God includes the Father, Son and Spirit. Each of them knows and is fully known by the others. Perichoresis means “mutually indwelling,” or “to interpenetrate,” “to entwine”. That each of the persons of the Trinity is present in the others but yet they are still distinct. (It’s like the mathematically impossible way we’ve described incarnation = 100% divine AND 100% human. God represents this mystery within himself)

SO, through and IN Christ, God has made a way to include US in the dance even though we don’t deserve to be included, evidenced by our persistent resistance to adopting the kingdom cultures of  transparency, self-sacrifice, interest in the other over ourselves, etc.

This dance is eternal in nature. God is always doing this. Always. We are ALWAYS invited to join this dance. If we connect this idea to the moment-by-moment nature of ‘DWELLING’, a concept that we’ve been reflecting on as a goal for this past year, we arrive at a beautiful place.                                  God is always ready and waiting with a hand out-stretched to you asking, “Will you dance with me? Never mind that you don’t know how to do this, the Father God says, I created you in my image, I GAVE YOU JESUS & then left you the Holy Spirit … I will lead, but will you follow?”

The ‘I GAVE YOU JESUS’ part is imperative to this current conversation about what ‘church leadership’ should look like. We don’t know how this works but Jesus ON EARTH showed us HOW HEAVEN FUNCTIONS with each person of the trinity present FULLY in the other.

At the commencement of re-discovering what a ‘functional’ church leadership could look like, one that sends the FULL representation of heaven to earth, we would do well to represent this dance (which God the Father has always invited us to join) right where we are and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into and through the PROCESS so that what we end up with looks more like Jesus than we could ever imagine; the church functioning as heaven does.

PRAYER FIRST – As a direct outcome of the recent deacons meeting (our current leadership framework & monitor for this process), we want to transparently engage with you our church family so that we LEARN TOGETHER how to be and facilitate (lead) a mission community that advances the kingdom of heaven – here and beyond … These are our initial prayer points so we can understand together what outcomes we are hoping for …

                Praying for …

  • A sense of excitement about belonging to this mission community and trusting Jesus to help us function effectively as a church during this leadership development process
  • A renewed energy and urgency to serve the community, build up the body of Christ and advance the kingdom of heaven.
  • A Shared responsibility to build safe spaces within which existing and new people alike can explore what it means to become a follower of Jesus (repent, follow Jesus through the waters of baptism and confess Christ as Lord), AND to grow as a follower of Jesus (softened hearts & teachable spirits that are infilled with the Holy Spirit for counsel and the growth of fruit whilst matching gifts and skills with their sense of call to mission task(s))
  • Honouring the discovered functions of service and stewardship so we ‘encourage hearts’ to play their part in, through AND beyond the life of the whole church
  • Forming accessible groups that can foster shepherds, task managers and coordinators and as such, can nurture apprentices into becoming biblically shaped spiritual leaders for the long term
  • That we can celebrate ALL followers of Jesus as ‘fellow workers’ (i.e. missionaries and leaders operating according to the grace apportioned to them)

To ‘dwell in the revelation Christ brought …’ is to START WITH JESUS. Mistakes have been made when we have assumed that we’ve started with Jesus but really, we have started with all the things we think we know…. So, let’s re-start this journey & discussion with Mark Chapter 1 

Things we learn in Mark 1 about Jesus’ example & leadership at the beginning of His earthly mission that we need to align to in order to express a church leadership that looks like heaven

Vs 4 – 11  Honoured Father God – Jesus voluntarily submitted to God’s ordained authority i.e. in this case both God Himself AND John the Baptist (it required obedience, humility (humiliation), security in who He was – NB: In vs 7 we get a glimpse of Christ’s agenda for Baptism if we reflect on John’s message. Jesus didn’t come to be baptised for repentance, He came to institute something that represented FULLNESS, Being CLOTHED with Christ, DYING to self and being RAISED to life with Him. Like communion, Jesus was submitting voluntarily to the WILL of God so that we could experience ALL of heaven as Jesus did in verse 11.

Vs 12-13 Empowered by the Holy Spirit – Empowers Others (Jesus himself was Spirit LED to show US where the ‘actual’ power comes from. It is not just a power to achieve it is a power that enables us to empower  – Allowing the Spirit to lead us into the wilderness wouldn’t be OUR first choice but once again it echoes submission)

This is highlighted in verses 40-45. Jesus’ yoke is easy. In the story of the leper, Jesus submits his will and attitude to the Spirit’s leadership so He doesn’t JUST heal the leper physically, He releases him with complete freedom which restores the leper fully to his community. Jesus waited on the Spirit to make Him willing. This promoted revelation not prescription i.e. waited to be invited so the kingdom could be revealed through the healing. This is leadership FULL of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom (cf. Acts 6)

Vs 14-15 Jesus ‘Represented’ and ‘Demonstrated’ a Vision Jesus represented the fullness of Heaven = true leadership can’t build what it isn’t …

Vs 16-17 Jesus Didn’t Invite People to a Role, Jesus invited them to a Purpose and a Journey of Preparation & Equipping ..  These guys may have been the leaders Jesus commissioned to GO but not the case when He invited them – the process is discipleship. Jesus didn’t say, “Follow me and I will make you leaders of men”

Vs 16-22  The Invitation Prioritized the Harvest not His own needs The apprentices looked and sounded like the harvest NOT like some religious accessory for Jesus to feel good about Himself around.  Jesus invited everyday people that ARE the harvest field to establish common ground and open strategic doors. The next guys invited fortified the relational approach. Then He was able to preach in THEIR Synagogues (where the harvest was located)  … and very soon different shapes of the harvest field could join in e.g. Matthew (tax collectors) and Simon (zealots) etc.

Vs 21-25 Confident in the Authority Invested in Him  Jesus re-aligned people with God’s heaven and demonstrated it with conviction – never did anything without it being connected to the purpose, hence the confidence

Vs 29-34  Dealt with the Crisis in front of Him  A crisis will always find you BUT only focus on the one in front of you and trust the Spirit’s leadership to discern what’s required THEN follow (never assume)

Vs 35-39 Constant & Intimate Communion the better you know someone, the more likely it is you will know what they need … Jesus prioritised relationship with the Father so the Spirit could prioritize His actions and responses (Sub – Mission) = Leadership NOT established because you have followers but because you FOLLOW

Prayer, Reflection & Response (some guidelines to encourage the input and conversation)

  1. Why is Graeme harping on about starting with Jesus or measuring everything we do and say as a church against Jesus’ life and ministry? Generally? And particularly with regard to building a church leadership development process?
  1. If you have been baptized as a believer in Christ, can you recall what it was in particular that led you to submit to the idea? If you haven’t been baptized as a believer, based upon what we read in Mark 1 and perhaps if you have time, in Matthew 3 and what God reveals to you as you read those scriptures, how do you reconcile what Jesus was doing when He came to John to be baptized by him?
  1. Have you every prayerfully reflected before upon the idea that Jesus Himself sought the Holy Spirit’s leading and power. It would seem to this observer that He did this to go beyond just performing the tasks that looked important in order to perform the tasks in such a way as to reveal God’s Primary Purpose; ”His kingdom come and His will being done on earth as it IS in heaven”  Jesus is making sure that you and I draw on the same power He did.   What do you think about that and is there any response you could make?
  1. If the Synagogue was the focus of every day Jewish life and society, what are the Synagogues that exist in our communities? If you think of some, reflect on why Jesus              might have focused His preaching ministry on the Synagogue. What do you think might be effective ways of preaching to the Synagogues of our modern life?
  1. Have you ever known or related with a ‘church leader’ that you believed was trying to represent the kingdom of heaven in his/her ministry? What about them particularly stood out for you? Did that ministry ever make you wonder what church leadership could look like if it was shaped like that beyond just that one person that you knew/know? Any thoughts worth journaling or sharing? …. Let’s Talk

Here’s the Link to What’s Happening at the HUB this week

Here’s the Link to this week’s Prayer Diary for The HOPE Project

Here’s the Link to HOPE College, Student information & Application Process

Here’s the Link to Graeme’s Available Weekly Calendar Times