The title for this week’s message by Pastor Andy is “Seeing Jesus for who He is”. This is in theme of celebrating our children. Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV) says” Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there”. Maybe we do not prevent children from coming to Jesus physically but perhaps by not allowing them to have real encounters with Jesus. We can learn from watching the way children are with Jesus. They have no agenda, but a child-like purity. In Matthew 18 Jesus tells his Disciples that if they want to become great in the Kingdom, they need to become child-like (not childish!) in our approach to God. When we are walking with the Lord, we need to have a child-like faith in acceptance of what he says. Adults often become sceptical but this robs us of receiving Jesus, but Jesus actually encourages us to be child-like in their approach. Children see and want Jesus for what He is. Often we see and want Him for what He can do for us! We need to see and know Jesus for what He really is. Jesus is a God of much more than what we usually see Him for. Even during Jesus time on earth, people missed Him because He was not what they were looking for. When the Messiah came, many could not see Him as He didn’t look like they expected or do what they thought He ought to. Such preconceived agendas are only one aspect of a hugely bigger God. The children of Israel in Exodus 24 were busy melting jewellery to make a representation of God as they wanted; meanwhile Moses was on the top of the mountain having a life changing experience! Many of Gods people could not see Jesus even when he was in the room with them as they were looking for a warrior character to overthrow the Roman Empire. Others looked for a ruling king like King David to rule as he did, but rather missed the point that Jesus’ throne was a heavenly one! Being saved from their own sins was more necessary than being saved from the Roman rule but this passed them by. Even after Jesus had died and risen before their eyes (Acts 1) the disciples ask if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. Their preconditioned thinking was of a Messiah coming to overthrow natural rule, missing the point of who Jesus was and why He had come to earth. Even John the Baptist got confused for a while because what Jesus was doing didn’t register with his expectations - (Luke 7:19 NIV) says “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” John had also thought Jesus should be overthrowing Rome, not sitting with children, healing people, forgiving sins. Children tend to have an attitude of “we want to know you as you are”. Adults tend to want to fit Jesus into their self-made boxes. Jesus was God on earth, the full and total manifestation of everything God the Father was and is. Colossians 2:9 (ESV) states “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”. Jesus is not just a representative of heaven; He is the fullness of God in every respect. All we need to know about God we can see in Jesus and His Word. Let us see Jesus for who He really is. Let us have a child-like faith and a child-like approach.
Seeing Jesus for who He is
September 6, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Walking with Jesus - Jesus the Good Shepherd
Andy Elmes • October 25, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Pastor Andy continues speaking about walking with Jesus, this week Jesus the Good Shepherd. Last week we looked at Jesus the Lion of Judah as well as being the Lamb who was slain to take away our sins. The bible has portrayed Jesus in many differing ways each declaring a special part of who He is ….Son of God, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, bread of life, the True Vine and the Good Shepherd. In the Gospel of John Chapter 10, many verses are devoted to Jesus being the Good Shepherd. Verses 1 through 6 speak of us knowing the Shepherd’s voice, how the true sheep know the voice of their shepherd. Further verses speak of Jesus being the gateway to God’s field. We can enter relationship with God, come into his field of safe pasture through Jesus only. Verse 10 also speaks of the enemy, the bad shepherd whose only purpose is to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus, the good shepherd is here to give us life in all its fullness. Verse 11 tells us that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for us. In Verse 12 we find that the hireling is not the shepherd who owns the sheep so will abandon us in the face of trouble….a wolf attacks and scatters the flock of sheep in the face of a hired hand because he has no regard for the flock, he is just a hired hand. In Verses 16 to 17 scripture speaks of a gathering, the plan of God for us – bringing the different cultures into the same ‘sheep pen’, one kingdom. In the Old Testament God also reveals Himself as a shepherd. In Ezekiel 34, the first ten verses rebuke bad shepherds of the day (we still have them now!). Verses 11 through 16 prophetically speak of God being the Good Shepherd in our lives, enabling us to lay down in good rich pasture (sheep only lay down when they feel no fear). This refers to us having a sense of well-being and safety, as we should feel with God at the helm of our lives. David’s Psalm 23 reveals the same things God revealed to Ezekiel earlier. God has our back; we just need to ensure we are listening to His voice, not the myriad of others trying to deceive us. Scripture is so powerful Pastor Andy ended the service with every home reading this scripture out loud. Psalm 23 (NKJV) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Walking with Jesus – The Lion of Judah
Andy Elmes • October 18, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb. Pastor Andy shares today from lessons, experiences and thoughts from his recent missionary trip to Zambia where he walked with lions! Before you walk with lions you need to be a member of their pack. This means going behind them and submitting to their pace. Also, letting them let them know you are there. In Daniel Chapter 6 there was a scary moment for Daniel in the pit with lions - but he knew the greater one the creator who made him was with him. Andy became conscious of the majesty of the lions when walking with them. Jesus is the Lion of Judah but also the Lamb of God. In Revelation 5:5 scripture speaks of “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed….” then in verse 6, reference to the Lamb who was slain. We need to know that Jesus is both the lion and the lamb. Seeing Jesus as a lamb is vitally important but we need to be able to relate to him as the Lion of Judah. Both these descriptions fully relate to Him. Proverbs 30:29 speaks of the Lion being majestic in pace and mighty among beasts. When it comes to walking with Jesus, we also need to avoid familiarity, keeping an awe of God in our hearts. When walking with a lion it’s important not to touch its head or mane as this represents its authority. So even though we are heirs to the throne and can walk in friendship we should never be over familiar with The Lord. We need to walk with a healthy honour and respect in our lives for Jesus, carrying reverence in our hearts. Additionally we need to walk in step behind Jesus, as you would do if walking with lions. We are followers of Jesus, as a follower we do not push in front. However, as followers, we also do not shrink back! If we shrink back and don’t keep being part of the pack, we lose our safety from being with the mighty lion of Judah. Galatians 5:25 (NIV) tells us “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. If we do this no matter what storms come along we have safety and victory in our lives.
Knowing How to Navigate the Storm
Andy Elmes • October 11, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Pastor Andy speaks about Storm Management - Knowing How to Navigate the Storm. Last week Pastor Andy spoke about Jesus being in the boat of our storms. This week carries on reading from Psalm 46. In verse 10 the bible tells us “Be still and know that I am God”. This means let go of our striving and lean back into the Lord to experience stillness in the midst of storms, surrender our anxiety. Pastor Andy carries on from last week with four key things about storms we may all face. Firstly storms come in many forms – health, physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual, but Jesus is in the boat of all of these even if we face many at a time. Secondly, storms may come from different places – ourselves if we acted wrongly, the devil (but we do have authority to rebuke these!), even God might originate a storm as in Jonah Chapter 1 because Jonah was walking in disobedience and God wanted him in his perfect plan for life. Thirdly a storm we experience may have a purpose attached to it. If from the devil it’s to steal kill and destroy, perhaps to prevent you benefitting others. In Mark 4 &5 we see the purpose of the boat crossing the Sea of Galilee was to relive a man possessed by a legion of devils. Fourthly, to create simple faith in Jesus. Maybe faith isn’t effective or powerful until it’s all you have. Luke 10:19 clearly states that we have been given authority over all the works of the evil one. God is waiting for us to realise who we are in Christ, see that the keys that were stolen from Adam by the devil have been returned to us through Jesus. We must stand in the boat of our lives and speak the word of God because we have authority to do this. We do need to seek repentance, forgiveness, if necessary and also make sure our perspective on our storm is appropriate…..many people will be experiencing far worse. Life needs to be more than about our boat purely so we must be ready to assist and help others. These are all opportunities for outreach ministries. When we help other people with their storms, God will take care of ours. Proverbs 10:25 (TPT) states “The wicked are blown away by every stormy wind. But when a catastrophe comes, the lovers of God have a secure anchor”.