Pentecost Sunday 2018

It seems fitting that we are celebrating the ‘birth’ of the church that Jesus builds at the beginning of the week where our very own church family is preparing to go through a process of rebirth to a degree. Not a deconstruction of organizational mechanisms but more like the rebirth Jesus was talking about in John 3 with the Pharisee Nicodemus out of sight of Sanhedrin HQ.

Jesus moves right on past Nic’s compliment in verse 2 and says, “I tell you the truth, no-one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

It’s clear in the language that Jesus is not using born again as an adjective, so He isn’t talking about a religious experience or a position or status that Nicodemus must reach. No, like Elijah facing off the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, Jesus ‘cuts through the bull’ and tells Nic to wise up, acknowledge that He’s a Pharisee and is therefore a religious leader and a respected teacher himself. Jesus exhortation to Nic is aimed at all of us who have been around religious culture forever and those of us who think we know a thing or two about God. That’s the context of this discourse. It’s not just a message for people becoming Christians for the very first time, it’s also about laying the foundations for a clear understanding that we need to stop building our knowledge on what we think we know already and trust God, go back to the beginning, unlearn everything we think we are sure of and become like a little baby, a child, all over again.

The message of Jesus calls us to explore new territory where our hearts are exposed and need to remain humble enough to admit we don’t ‘already’ understand everything (or much) and when we are thirsty to actually ASK questions (that might make us look silly). Jesus’ message doesn’t treat its hearers as experts, not as academics, spiritual teachers who have access to truth OR know-it-all’s …. BUT children. Children are dependent, not independent. The journey we are currently on as a church is a re-shaping one, a re-aligning one. It challenges our romance with the fantasy of independence and re-introduces us to the freedom and responsibility that accompanies COMPLETE dependence on the Holy Spirit. Dependence isn’t weakness, it’s meekness or humility which is being mature enough to know when something’s beyond our human reason and self-importance. If our church family members take a look around with human eyes, it’s really easy to see why we might try and find short cuts to get around the obvious fact that on the surface we don’t look much like the vibrant early church believers. However, if we approach this next season with the eyes of Jesus, the sensitivity and discernment of the Spirit and a soft heart, we will I am sure, recognise and engage all we need by pressing into the one and only source. Like the proverbial author writes, ‘Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding’. Let’s BE available and trust God with what comes next.

THIS WEEK’S Base Camp Essentials! 

Corporate PrayerJoin us in the Prayer Lounge, 5.30-6.30pm Tuesdays OR email/text/phone things you are hearing from God about the HOPE Project, so we can share in prayer TOGETHER and record what God shows us in an accessible way for all. You might find the weekly HOPE project prayer diary a helpful guide. PRAYING AS ONE, is key life support for ‘Base Camp’.

Q&A @ ‘Coffee’s On’ & The Wednesday Conversation’ – If you have any questions for Graeme or you need a little bit of clarity about the Church Family Meeting OR if you’d simply like to shoot the breeze with him about the leadership development process OR the sign up task / shared responsibility sheets OR the next season of The HOPE Project OR whatever; Graeme will be in the HUB Café Space area from 7 to 9am THIS Wednesday and from 5.30pm for an hour or so if you’d like to drop by for a chat around brekky or before dinner.

Sunday 27th May – There’s a bit planned for this WATERSHED day in the life of our church’s mission. Still to be confirmed is our annual National Day of Thanks pilgrimage to Wollongong Police HQ (5.30am) to bless Police coming off night shift with a Brekky BBQ. Base Camp Week 6 at 10am & Please come prepared for the Special Church Family Meeting 11.30am

6000 people visit our Ad for Southern Support Group Meeting

More people are now aware of what Jono is attempting at Albion Park Community Centre 5pm weekly on Saturdays with over 6000 visiting the Facebook page this week.  We primarily covet your prayer partnership right now.   If you would like to help us with some seed funding (we’ve had to pay hire bonds etc…) please deposit your gift into Westpac Account, Heartland Ministries, BSB 032727, account number 203307 and identify your gift with the letters FTM or Jono, so we know how to account for it. Thank you.

A Summary of LAST week’s message for Prayer, Reflection & Response. Signpost: See & Engage the Harvest   Series: ‘Welcome to HOPE Project Base Camp-already 60% of the way UP’ Graeme Hush (13th May 2018)

(Ref. Scriptures continuing on from April 29 = Matthew 3:13-5:11) 

Attitude Adjustment Always Works Better After a Few Steps into the Actual Battle (Some initial Reflections with George Muller … )

‘I seek the will of the Spirit of God through or in connection with the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also.’

‘It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must pray patiently, believing, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer.’

‘There was a day when I died; died to self, my opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren or friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.’

The Be – Attitudes are the under-pinning core kingdom of heaven values;

Jesus’ Code of Conduct as it were (cf. Micah 6:8)

The Job Description is NOT for individual Tasks, it’s for the ‘Follower of Jesus’ … You will be all of this whether you are making cups of tea, cleaning toilets, reading a child a story or planting 20 churches …. You want to be fishers of men?  Then Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly IN Christ

You want to be a Christian who makes a difference in the world where you live, work and or play? Stop trying to look like a Christian and start looking more like Jesus. Graeme noted the consistent inappropriate posts on social media from so called Christian people … it’s time for a social media revolution starting with Jesus and the kingdom of heaven instead of our personal and or political agendas

You want to be a part of a local church in community that grows and has impact and influence for the kingdom of heaven? THEN let the kingdom of heaven invade your hearts …. And the Father will equip you with all you need … your best fit yoke!!!  That’s the message of the Be-Attitudes.

Be harnessed to Jesus – what do I mean? Let’s get our ropes out at base camp and ensure we are all tied together AND to Jesus – Be harnessed to Jesus

Romans 1:1     Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus,

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,

2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve

Titus 1:1          Paul, a bond-servant of God

Philemon 1     Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus

James 1:1        James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ

2 Peter 1:1      Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

Jude 1             Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ

Revelation 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants … & communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John

Bond-Servant (Greek. ‘Doulos’) = It means absolute obedience. The slave knows no law but master’s word; no rights; absolute possession of the master

It means absolute humility. One who thinks not of their privileges but of their duties, not of their rights but their obligations. It is the word of a person who has lost or denied ‘self’ in the service of God.

It means absolute loyalty. Personal profit and preference do not enter into calculation; loyalty to God alone.

Yet, at the back of it, this word implies a certain pride. So far from being a title of dishonour it was the title by which the greatest ones of the Old Testament were known. Moses was the ‘Doulos’ of God (1 Kings 8:53; Daniel 9:11; Malachi 4:4); so were Joshua and Caleb (Joshua 24:29; Numbers 14:24);    so were the great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deuteronomy 9:27); so was Job (Job 1:8); so was Isaiah (Isaiah 20:3); AND distinctively the prophets Amos 3:7; Zech. 1:6 & Jer. 7:25.

Bond-servants find their freedom, peace and glory in perfect submission to the will of God. The only greatness worth aspiring to.               

Finally, we note that Bond-servants have DENIED SELF (by def.)

Even though we learn & grow from taking the teaching of Jesus & Paul personally; it was given to the Church His Body to which He was/is the head.

Rom. 1:7   To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints

1 Cor. 1:2    To the church of God which is at Corinth,

Gal. 1:2                 To the churches of Galatia:

1 Thess. 1:1 To the church of the Thessalonians

It is a helpful and faith building exercise to read the letters as though you were part of the church they were all read to … I’m not the bride of Christ, the church is, so I need to be Jesus’ bond-servant, harnessed to Him and performing my function for the building of the body. (Eph.4:15-16) …. If my focus is to encourage another to be all THEY can be … we will be all we can be

We don’t succeed on the summiting journey if one of us gets up and back but if we ALL play our part (at whatever camp or support base) and summit to the height of Christ’s full stature for US. We all summit as a team and as such are able to help others summit; so, if you want to lead in this church, the greater the responsibility, the greater the servitude. No stars, no icons, just bond-servants of Jesus who lift OTHERS up

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