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Time to Arise & Shine

Andy Elmes

June 21, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy encourages us that we need to be assured that God is at work in all things (Romans 8:28). God has a plan! Let us understand the time we live in and the part God wants us to play. His plan is us, we are His church. Isaiah, a prophet was seeing things through The Spirit ahead of his time. Isaiah 60:1 (NIV) says “‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” This is key to the moment we are in now & how God wishes us to respond. Arise and Shine means get up, don’t shrink in fear and purpose, and be the dawn, the break of day. Darkness will cover the earth comes from hebrew khoshekh meaning misery, destruction death, sorrow, unrighteousness. Thick Darkness here means a cloud of gloom. So Isaiah foresaw gloom over the earth but told the people of God it was time to let the light of Jesus shine. Isaiah 60:3 says that the people of this world, (gentiles & heathen) will be drawn towards the light we shine – when the church stops hiding, arguing and fighting and stands up to be the representation of Christ on earth. The unsaved will be drawn to something better they see in us – the holiness, beauty and reality of Kingdom life. These verses speak to us... His People, His church on earth! The Jesus who came and now lives in us is the Jesus who will shine. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 the bible speaks of us being one body, made of many parts, many cultures and nations (if one part hurts so do we all). The final statement here says that we are the body of Christ and each of us is a part of it. We are the body of Christ on earth and contain the spirit of God. He is here in us now on the earth wishing to express Himself to a confused world through the lives we live, not necessarily our words. We are called to stand out not blend in; we are called to be operating and responsive in a different spirit from those of the world - to be that breaking of dawn in these confusing times. John 13:35 tells us people will know us by how we love one another, a different love from that in the world. People of God choose unity over division or dissention (Proverbs 6:19 reminds us how God hates such things). We speak truth in love not deceptive thinking. We understand the Word of God separates what is soul and what is spirit and how to respond. The world desperately needs us to be different to be the church, however we need to know what this means from a spiritual perspective. We are a called out people in this world but not of this world. Colossians 1:13 tells us we have been snatched out the kingdom of darkness & brought into the Kingdom of the Son of His love. We need to be true to this. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us how we are a chosen people called out of darkness to declare his praises. Once we had not received mercy but now we have! We are a people of Christ on earth, with no partiality to race, colour etc. We know each other only by how we are in Christ. We do not despise our cultures which we celebrate, but we are defined by who we are in God. 2 Corinthians 5:16 onwards speaks about the truth of who we now are. If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation or species, a new variety of people belonging to God. There is no partiality of skin colour here. God expect us to respect each other as human to human. Let us see Jesus in each other and choose to be different. Then we can celebrate our differences not judge or despise them. God looks for us His church to be different in the darkness of today’s world, to be a bright shining light. To accomplish this, our thinking, loving, forgiving, and graceful judging must be different. All this starts with how we treat each other in our own church. Our local culture can then impact the wider church. The church is not peripheral to the world but central. Ephesians 1:23 (MSG) tells us “He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the centre of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” The Bible tells us to understand Kingdom life in order that life around us can change. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us to study The Lord and we shall be transformed into His image with ever increasing glory! Then we begin to shine and impact our own local church then indeed the church and the world over. This means living with no racism, judgement, division but seeing Jesus in each other. The devils plans will be ruined! We must see ourselves as reflected in the Word, how The Father sees us. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) teaches “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Whether reading the words of Isaiah or Jesus, the request is the same. Pastor Andy shared a personal message he received during his devotions: God is about to move again through His church, His body on the earth. It is vital we know who we are and what we are here to do. It is time to Arise and Shine.

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Are we Believers or Disciples?

Andy Elmes • August 9, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy asks if we are Believers or Disciples. There are similarities but great differences between the two. In Matthew 28, the Lord asks us to be a going people, to make disciples, not just to be saved. Help the people to learn of me, believe in me and obey my words and observe my commands….are words from the Amplified version of Matthew 28. So we are to go and make disciples and teach people to obey Jesus commands. Believing is having faith in something or someone. Believing in God is a powerful thing but even demons believe in God also! - James 2:19 (NKJV) “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” So God does want us to experience the powerful salvation which comes from believing….. But also more……. being a disciple as well. In believing, lives are saved but not transformed. When lives are positioned as disciples, followers of Christ, transformation takes place. It’s an ongoing commitment to the work of the Holy Spirit within. Unlike the thief on the cross next to Jesus, we do have time in our lives for the Holy Spirit to change us. Moving from being a believer to being a disciple was Jesus’ plan in order to transform lives. This is what he called us to be. Believing is not the final thing! Jesus ministered not only to many crowds but also to his disciples when he was not with crowds. Crowds maybe are there for what they can get but disciples are there for what they can become. Being a disciple means becoming subject to the disciplines of the person you follow. A life being transformed will always involve a level of discipline in order to cause the changes required. God calls us to be subject to His teachings and truths. Do we want our lives to adhere to Jesus’ teaching? The bible calls all believers to achieve Christ-likeness choosing discipleship over pure membership. We need to let Jesus train us or disciple us into a better way of living. This means living in the Word allowing the Holy Spirit to challenge us and moving from being in a crowd experience about God to being a follower of God. Believing is belonging but disciplining is submitting, allowing changes to occur, daily. When we are living in the Word of God we will be transformed – Romans 12:2 (NKJV) “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Our thinking will be challenged and our wisdom altered, this needs to be our prayer. We must exchange incorrect philosophies for correct ones. Colossians 2:8 tells us (NIV) “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ”. The Passion Translation colours this in with even greater clarity in modern day English “Beware that no one distracts you or intimidates you in their attempt to lead you away from Christ’s fullness by pretending to be full of wisdom when they’re filled with endless arguments of human logic. For they operate with humanistic and clouded judgments based on the mindset of this world system, and not the anointed truths of the Anointed One.” So we have a choice as believers, carry on as we are or turn to God and choose His wisdom to operate in inside us. This means we redefine our belief system in accordance with Jesus words. As Jesus said, disciples live by and are obedient to His words (he was speaking to Jewish believers), read John 8:31 (NIV) “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples’”. So Jesus was speaking to people who were saved telling them they needed to hold true to His words. The same is true for us in order to be disciples.

Transformation not Modification

Andy Elmes • August 2, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy speaks about Transformation not Modification. Last week we heard personal testimonies about how God had changed people and transformed their lives. We can only manage modification but God produces transformation – God on the inside of us changing us totally from the inside out. This is not behaviour modification. God does not just save us but also change us from the inside out, just as in a metamorphosis (a change from one form to another). Much of religion only has a gospel of behaviour modification yet the gospel of Jesus Christ is about God coming to live within a person’s life transforming them. Whether instant or process there is always a starting point. In Luke 19, scripture recalls the life of Zacchaeus, a thief wanting to give back to those he stole from……this was an instant encounter with God that transformed a life. In Acts 9 there is a moment where Saul a serial killer is transformed ….a light shone, he fell to the ground hearing a voice calling him. He asks who calls and hears “I am Jesus who you persecute”…. Later he becomes Paul but from that moment everything became different, a transformed life. Transformation can be instantaneous but also ongoing as well, even if started by a single event, perhaps when we received The Lord. As we commit to living a life of “abiding in Him” (John 15) then there is an ongoing transformation. Many disciples had this type of change as they walked with Jesus over time. There can be moments but as we commit to walking with Him our lives will be transformed. His presence, His Spirit and His Word will transform us daily as we walk with Him. This is still His plan to transform us as it was during biblical times. When we love the presence of God, things that are wrong cannot remain.. deceptions, stubborn things! The bible says we are transformed by His Spirit - 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV) says “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord”. The Holy Spirit now in us causes the transformation in our lives and moves us from glory to glory to be more Christ like. Often this is ongoing when we don’t realise it. Also His Word, the supernatural living words cause everlasting change. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) says ”And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. This renewing of our minds comes from reading His word. The Passion Translation embroiders this text further… “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes”. WOW! The Holy Spirit and The Word almost dance together inside us to make changes from the inside out. ….The word of God and The Spirit of God were present in creation (Genesis). What for us? We can only manage modification. God does transformation – which occurs when we choose to yield and submit to Him. All we must do is yield and obey….not purpose in our hearts to do what we wish to do but yield to the Holy Spirit and the Word. Obedience is key and produces fruit. Let us be hungry for God and His change in our lives.

This is My Story

Andy Elmes • July 26, 2020 • Andy Elmes

This Sunday’s broadcast was titled “This is My Story”. An exciting Sunday's broadcast where we heard from individuals about how their lives have been transformed by God! Several testimonies from Family Church members about how God has impacted their lives and changed them personally gave gripping insight into how God transforms from the inside in a relational way. Following this, Pastor Andy spoke briefly about transformed lives, people encountering God from the inside out, not outside in as religion tries to. Real lives welcome the opportunity with Jesus and consequently have their lives changed. The bible is full of such stories, especially in the gospels; how Jesus met the lady at the well whose life was out of control, when Jesus met the religious Nicodemus (a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin) and answered questions leading to his life changing. Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1) was a tax collector and a thief, but he wanted to see Jesus. Being not too tall he climbed a tree to be able to see Jesus pass by. Amazingly, Jesus tells him to come down immediately and tells him he wants to come to his home. People saw that Jesus was a guest of a sinner, not preaching, but only sitting eating with Zacchaeus who consequently says he will give half his money to the poor and repay people four times anything he had robbed them! Jesus announces how salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ house, how the Son of man has come to save to lost. It’s a great story as Zacchaeus would not have wanted religion, being a tax collector he would have seen such people as hypocrites…he must have been amazed when Jesus stopped, looked up at the tree and said “today I want to come to your house”. We note Jesus did not preach to him or tell him off for his sins; just being in the presence of Jesus was enough to cause the transformation of Zacchaeus life. Previously he had been a thief, now he wanted to recompense everyone! In the moment of encounter with Jesus everything had changed, just as we heard from other people today during the service. When you really meet Jesus, everything inside you changes. Suddenly the life that matters breaks out and relationships begin. God is an incredible God, still changing lives in present days just as in biblical times.