Steve Carey • May 24, 2020 • Steve Carey
Pastor Steve speaks about Pure Joy during trials in our lives, and continues looking at who we are becoming and how we are using our time in this season. James (brother of Jesus writing to the church he oversaw), tells the Jewish Christians to consider it pure joy when they faced trials (James 1:2). We are in a trial right now, but trials always come and always will come. Sometime we see them and sometimes they catch us unawares. Trials may be as a result of spiritual attacks (we need to open Ephesians 6 and put on the full armour of God) knowing our enemy is defeated. Sometimes trials come as a result of a lack of wisdom or something we did. Other times life may just deal out an issue, or sometimes as a result of the actions of other people. Trials have differing types of impact but the key issue is how we respond. James tells us that when we face a trial we should consider it pure joy….but do we respond in this way? Many of us will look at the words James wrote and say he did not know anything about our situation…often our response is anger or doubt. James writes as a pastor and tells the church to consider it as pure joy because the testing of faith produces perseverance (James1:3). So the journey is not so great but the destination – perseverance – we like much more. Often we are excited about getting somewhere but do not enjoy the journey. But in a spiritual context James tells us we need to embrace the journey, what God is doing for us, in us and through us in this season. James is not saying delight in the problem, but delight in what God is doing in and through us. Sometimes the journey to completeness and maturity in Christ comes as a result of times of confusion, pain and sorrow. God is not the author of these things but will use them for our good and for His glory. Often the journey to maturity comes when we are on the edge of quitting. This produces faith which is mature and pure. Jesus did not promise an easy life but he did promise an overcoming life and one of peace and hope. In the context of a classroom of positivity as we have spoken recently, maybe this is a season to look at revising the goodness of God, who he is on our lives, who we are in him, the faithfulness of God. Character is built in the circumstances of life. When we understand how God uses circumstance to develop our character we are able to respond correctly when god places us in character building opportunities. God wants us to grow and mature. His desire is for us to be complete in Him. Elsewhere in the New Testament we see similar instructions (1 Peter 1:6-7, Romans 5:3-5). Maybe it is time for us to change our perspective even in a time of a trial…from allowing the trial to break us to allowing God to make us. Let us ask a few questions…….. 1 - What is our perspective in this trial….out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks or fingers type? Our perspective will change when we change our thinking, by renewing our minds with scriptures of hope, encouragement, peace etc. 2 - Are we praying for this trial to end or for God to mature us in this trial? Even in this season, Dear God use me and complete me. 3 - Are we enduring the journey or embracing it? Are we wishing it away or embracing who God is during this time. Now is a time to be used by God. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us use this time effectively. 4 - Is there a sound of joy in our homes and lives? Joy gives us confident hope; it does not take away the issues. Maybe start our day with the word of God and fill it with praise then when other things come into our homes we shall have a different perspective on life. Our challenge is to look at our season and consider it pure joy rejoicing in the fact that God is shaping us.
What are we becoming?
Andy Elmes • May 17, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Pastor Andy asks us “What are we becoming?” during this season of lock-down. Two Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) says “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”. In this season we need to ask what are we becoming? ‘Coming’ and ‘becoming’ are not the same. We cannot ‘come’ to church we as did but we can still ‘become’ more as god wanted us to be. We are still in an element of isolation and our choices will determine what we become. Some fitter, some fatter! We are all ‘becoming’ something; some wiser, some less so. Some bitter, some better! A great example is Joseph in the book of Genesis. In Genesis 37, he shared dreams with his brothers, but they threw him into a pit and later sold him. He might have become bitter and insecure. However, in his isolation he determined not to quit. In Genesis 39 the favour of God is on Joseph, he has risen to be second in charge in the house of Potiphar. He even scorned Potiphar’s wife who wrongly accuses him of improper behaviour. Joseph is wrongly imprisoned, but in this time of isolation he actually developed himself to be stronger and better. In Genesis 41 when he is released from prison God works for his good. Pharaoh asked for Joseph to interpret his dream about seven years of good and seven years of famine. Pharaoh then promoted Joseph to being second in charge of the country! So he is not broke and weak but he comes out of prison strong and ready for action. He leads the nation in a successful plan of well-being and sustainability. Why? Because in prison he chose to let God do in him what God wanted to do at that time. When others were quitting he chose to develop from glory to glory. Such decisions we can all make for ourselves when we read the word, pray and spiritually develop. God is in this moment with us. When Joseph was in prison, he was diligent – Genesis 39:21-23 speaks of God's favour being upon him, even being promoted within prison! He also stayed sharp in walking and hearing God. In Genesis 40 the Cup Bearer and Baker ask Joseph to interpret their dreams. Joseph was hearing heaven! Let us be alert and spiritually diligent also. Three things kept Joseph focused - • He knew God was with and in him and had plans for him • He had a revelation of Romans 8:28 which speaks of all things working together for those who love God (Romans wasn’t written then!). In Genesis 50 his worried brothers were brought to him when his Father Jacob had died, but Joseph showed optimism, telling them not to be afraid as even although they had intended to harm him. God had put him in the place he had been to accomplish His plans and save many lives. • He stayed submitted to God. God often leads people into wilderness or isolation in order to accomplish His plan or make that person ‘become’ something different. Jesus is the prime example in scripture. The Holy Spirit is with us now in our periods of isolation. We need to stay submitted to Gods plans for us to become as he intended.
Spending Time To Pursue God
Andy Elmes • May 10, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Pastor Andy Speaks about pursuing God, and redeeming time during this season of lockdown. Some things in our lives are out of our hands, others may not be. Things may not necessarily be out of control but waiting for us to manager properly. Time, a gift from God is such a thing. We can all do different things with this precious gift of life. Many folk have a lot more time than usual presently, (not everyone), but many do have extra time at the moment. What do we do with this time, which we can consider as the currency of our lives? God has blessed us with time, our life and also the ability to spend it as we see fit. We need to spend the rest of our time in best way we can. It’s the most important currency we will ever own. Unfortunately, some people are not good at managing time well. We cannot get back time we have wasted….but we can invest time in serving others. In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul speaks about the best use or redeeming of time. In Colossians 4:5, we are also told to walk in wisdom to outsiders, making the best use of time. Let us make sure today we are being wise in how we use our time. The best way we can use our time is in our personal pursuit of God. Many other things are admirable, but this ought to be top of our priorities. Let us be diligent in knowing Him more. God is waiting and wanting to be found by those who dare to seek Him. We need to seek God out, search for him. Jeremiah 29:11 speaks about knowing the plans to prosper and live with good health. However, verses 12-14a (NIV) also say “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord”. This is not a casual pursuit, but a whole hearted action by someone desiring God. Matthew 7:7-8 tells us “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Many verses in the Old and New Testaments encourage us to be in pursuit of a deepening relationship with God. Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV) says “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me”. James 4:8 instructs us that if we would draw near to God, He will draw near to us. This is not just a call for those who do not know God, but also for us who do know him….to know him deeper, to know him as we could. God waits for those who will pursue him. He beckons us to spend our time to be in personal pursuit of him in ways we did know know before. God will never disappoint the person who hungers for him. Psalm 42:7 speaks of “Deep calling unto Deep”. Nothing satisfies the longing we have within us like a deep calling for God. We must find God for ourselves. We must not choose familiarity but rediscover awe for God.
Time To Clear The Weeds
Steuart Payne • May 3, 2020 • Steuart Payne
Pastor Steu speaks about clearing weeds from our lives. He focuses on three key weeds; Insecurity, Offence and Doubt. He has been gardening recently clearing weeds, which tend to grow back unless the roots are dug out and the soil tended. In the garden of our lives, there is also a challenge to keep ourselves weed free. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our heart as it determines the course of our lives. If our lives are the garden, then our hearts are the soil and God wants to be able to display his glory in our garden. Removing the weeds and planting fruit bearing plants is our responsibility as a Christian. No one else can do this, however we are not alone….good people surround us and we need to call upon them, especially if their gardens are beautiful! Our heavenly Father is present in the garden of our lives also. In order to deal with the weeds we need to understand them. Weeds start with seeds and growth begins under the surface until they take over unattended areas of our lives. Salvation is often a time of clearing weeds in our lives. Our hearts are made new at this time, but we may allow things to affect our hearts in daily life. Some roots remain; even from a clear-out. The Christian life is a process of clearing the weeds from our garden. Even after roots are removed weeds grow as weed seed blows back, so weeds need to be permanently eradicated after uprooting, maybe by burning. The devil puts tiny seeds of thoughts in our lives - 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us to stay alert as the enemy is looking to prowl around - these tiny thoughts can grow and cause damage. Some weeds are deceptive, looking rather nice, but they stop fruit bearing trees from growing. In 2Corinthians 11:13-15, Paul addresses the Corinthians about false teachers….not everything that looks good is actually good for us. The weed of insecurity comes from the seed of rejection. It’s a tough weed to deal with. It damages good seeds, overshadows healthy plants. This weed says “we don’t deserve it, we can’t achieve it, and we will make fools of ourselves”. The weed must be dealt with at the source which is the root of rejection. The Sword of the spirit, the word of God is the axe to use. The word tells us we are accepted, we are children of God, we are no longer rejected. As we declare this truth we get revelation from it. If we have this weed, we can use God’s word to eradicate it. Ephesians 1:4-8 tells us that God decided in advance to adopt us into his family. The weed of offence can grow strongly. It can grow from misunderstandings or false expectations, or also the seeds of entitlement or rights. It might say “that’s not what we agreed, I feel that I deserve more than this”. We can justify these easily. The weed of offence that grows to look quite pretty is actually deception; we need honest friends to tell us how this may take over the garden of our life. Proverbs 26:27 tells us that a friend who really loves us will speak the truth. In Job 32:6-10 Job’s friend Ellihu had held back listening to all the supposed intelligent people, but told Job that no one had spoken the word of God into his life as he was now going to do. Sometimes we need honest friends who love us enough to speak truths. The seed for the weed of doubt is hope deferred or disappointment. This seed can impact a life hugely. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. This weed is like contaminated soil. Nothing else can grow. It seems that all dreams are impossible. The weed tells us “we didn’t see a miracle today so one will not come tomorrow, good things happen to others not you, and things never work out for you”. All joy can be robbed. Our gardens will not be attractive to others. The roots here need to be dug out and burnt. We need to become closer to God, the One who never lets us down, never breaks promises. Our hearts needs to be unclogged and we need to come to God and recognise he is totally faithful and dependable and also know that all things are possible with God. Other weeds exist and now may be a time to walk through our garden and deal with these too. However, these three - insecurity, offence and doubt often have the strongest roots. Ephesians 6:17 (NLT) says “Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”……this is our gardening tool, the word of God.
Being Fruitful in This Season
Andy Elmes • April 26, 2020 • Andy Elmes
The rhythm of life has currently changed for a period of time. It is important that we make wise choices during this season. Our choices will determine whether we grow producing fruit and flowers in the garden of our life or allow weeds and thistles grow in our lives and so curtail healthy fruit and flowers. At this time of isolation, there can be stress and loneliness. We need to give people our support, connecting with them, being loving towards them. How we deal with comparative isolation depends to an extent on our character. If we are introverts we may well be naturally comfortable but if we are more extrovert we may struggle. Regardless of our chief character traits the key aspect is our personal response to the situation. We may choose to lock ourselves away - looking away from others rather than looking to help others. Alternatively, we may say “I’ll make the most of this unusual season to help others.” Captain Tom Moore’s outlook and response is a wonderful example of a 99 year old who decided to help others. He decided not to just sit in his armchair for the season, but instead to walk lengths of his garden to raise money. What started as a small gesture exploded into something massive. He used the time to benefit others; he showed determination; he purposed it. We need to be personally encouraged by this. Being isolated can be a good thing. Stepping back from social engagements means that we can learn, discover and develop. We can choose to look positively, or look negatively; at things being good, or being bad. Romans 8:28 (NIV) tells us “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.” As Christians, we ought to be expecting God to work good out of the current situation. If we do, the challenge is to see how can we serve and partner with God to achieve the positive outcomes. Many famous people produced some of their best works when isolated, for example, Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, Van Gough, Lord Byron and of course St Paul. St Paul wrote several of his letters to the churches whilst he was in prison or under house arrest (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon). John wrote Revelation whilst he was in exile, in punishment, on the island of Patmos. During this isolation time, what could God be working out in us? Do we want to purposefully draw closer to God? James 4:8 (NKJV) says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” God is waiting for us to want to move closer to Him. This season of separation has four rooms….the classroom (where we may learn new things); the greenhouse (where something could grow in our lives); the waiting room (where we may develop patience) and the Pressure Cooker (where flavour can be developed if the ingredients are correct). Romans 5:3-5 (NIV) tells us “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”. Depending on our characters and whether we look positively or negatively at situations, God can work in us during these times. However, where there is ill-feeling or negativity, then the ingredients and conditions in all of the room of our lives will not be good. We can choose positively to deal with issues. We can and should choose to take issues to God, to let Him in, to voice any cracks apparent to our loving God. God doesn’t want to put a plaster on the problem. He is our God who heals. God has also supplied us with servants within the church to partner Him in helping us - those in leadership. So, when life gets tough, we can choose to speak to our pastors, core leaders or connect group leaders. Let us not be alone. Let us keep connected. Let us ensure this season produces good things in each of the rooms of our lives!
The Good Life
Gina Elmes • April 19, 2020 • Gina Elmes
Pastor Gina speaks about The Good Life. Different People have different ideas about the definition of the Good Life and culture tells us what the Good Life is but the Bible has a lot to say about the Good Life and what God says it is. In the book of Genesis, God saw that his creation was good. God looked out and saw all he had made; he saw that it was good. The word good means harmony with God, as in all different parts working together to form a healthy whole, in tune with God. Creation was strong, healthy and well-functioning just as in music a perfect harmony arises from different notes and chords being perfectly placed to give a beautiful sound. If we fall out of harmony with God, disobedience brings about disharmony and we can no longer work in relationship with God. Ephesians 1:11 Tells us that In Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for. The reason we were created was to be in relationship with God. We will always be our best when we are in harmony with our created purpose. We need to be reconnected with God. God’s desire is a joining, 1 Corinthians 6:17 speaks of this. We become infused with God and Him with us. When harmony with our creator is restored, heaven now has access to every part of who we are, every part that makes us. Often not every part of our lives is available and submitted to God. When each part of us is submitted to God we become a whole strong person. Letting heaven flow into our lives is key, as in the Lord’s Prayer, we find what God says about all areas of our lives in the Bible. Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to the world but to be transformed by the will of God, then we will know what is good and perfect and pleasing to God. God sets us free as we allow our desire to be reconnected to him to become manifest. The good life is in fact the God life.
Resurrection on Easter Day!
Andy Elmes • April 12, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Pastor Andy preaches a keynote Easter Day message celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as we journey through Holy Week from Palm Sunday last week. Luke 24:1–8 declares the story of the resurrection….the women went to the tomb, found it empty, and stood frightened as two men like angels described how Jesus was risen. This is the most vital part of the whole story of Easter. There is death, burial and then resurrection. Without the resurrection we would not be any better off, we would not enter into the kingdom that God had made for us. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul speaks about importance of the resurrection; he opposed deception of some who said there was no resurrection. In verses 12-19, Paul says that if there is no resurrection then not even Christ is raised and if so our preaching and our faith is useless. Also we are false witnesses about God! And those who have fallen asleep are lost as well. Without the resurrection we are lost and still in our sins, but with the resurrection we are saved. His resurrection also validated key things: His lordship, His Kingship, His Kingdom (not even death or the grace could stop his kingdom),and His Authority (He is the final authority even over death and the grave, Jesus arose in His Authority to say death has no authority in me). The Authority the bible recognises Jesus had, he actually gave this to us. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) tells us “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. Jesus didn’t take his back authority to heaven - he gave it to his followers. He gave us authority over all the works of the enemy and as he rose from the dead this authority is still valid. So let us take authority over this Corona virus and all sickness. The Resurrection did not just declare things over Jesus but over us as well. We must understand that we are involved in Easter as well. The key to this is understanding our identification in Christ. We were in Christ when he died, in Christ when he was buried and in Christ when he rose again. This enables us to walk in liberty way after many have forgotten Easter day. We must purpose to live in the good of what he did in all the days of our lives. In many ways, Easter was more about us than Him - Jesus did not need to go to the cross for himself – he was blameless. Everything he achieved at the cross was for our benefit. Romans 6 teaches us about being dead to sin yet alive in Christ. We don’t need to die for our sins because we died in Him. All who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death. We don’t need to provide our own death to become saved. What Jesus achieved on the cross is represented in our baptism, in order that just as Jesus was raised from the dead we too may live a brand new life. Paul’s letter to the Romans is quite profound here. Romans 6:5 (NIV) says “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his”. For use to experience everything that Jesus purchased for us at the cross in his death burial and resurrection, we need to identify our death, burial and resurrection in newness of life as a Christian. Easter is about the benefits Jesus gives to us when we place our faith in him. He didn’t take our sin to the cross; he took the sinner to the cross! This newness of life is not just to be experienced when we die on earth, but in this life and the one to come, at the moment we are born again! The new resurrection life started the moment we were born again because our old life died was buried and we rose again. So yes, He is risen!, but so are we!
Gods Unshakeable Kingdom
Andy Elmes • April 5, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Pastor Andy speaks of Gods Unshakeable Kingdom on Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday leads into holy week, celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, triumphantly on a donkey as described in Matthew 21 (early verses). This had been foretold by the Prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9). Crowds shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!” This was truly an epic moment, eventually leading to Jesus’ arrest death burial and resurrection. As Jesus entered the city many people saw the king but missed His Kingdom. However, wherever a king is, so is the presence of his kingdom, the two are synonymous. Often we are good at acknowledging King Jesus, but we also need to acknowledge His kingdom. Jesus brought His kingdom to earth when he came and left it in the lives of his followers. Jesus refers to His Kingdom many times in scripture, eg Matthew 4:17 “Repent the kingdom of God is at hand”. Repent here means change your thinking. Jesus preached about his kingdom not his kingship. His life was the illustration of it and tells us anything we needed to know about His Kingdom. Many people missed the point that His kingdom was present as well as the King. This can apply to us as well, especially in present times. The good news is that Jesus didn’t take His kingdom back when he returned to heaven. One day he will return to earth, but his kingdom is here right now for us to experience. Acts 1:3 describes how Jesus spent forty days teaching about the ways of the kingdom. He clearly was not taking the kingdom back with him! Hebrews 12:26 announces that God’s kingdom is unshakeable. We are not to be shaken! Verse 27 means everything man made or not originated by God will be shaken - in order that the things which cannot be shaken will remain. Think on this! Verse 28 tells us to be grateful we are receiving the Kingdom of God which is unshakeable. Are we citizens of God or church attenders, a key question to ask ourselves. In shakeable times our lives are being shaken…but they need not be. We must live what we say we believe. When we became born again we came into this unshakeable kingdom. If we come under His Lordship, we recognise His rule and reign in our lives; we are in the unshakeable kingdom of God. This also means we have his care and protection (1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”). Colossians 1:13 states how our lives are taken out of the kingdom of darkness – we are now able to live in His providence. He is the Provider and protector. All we need to do to be within Gods Kingdom is to be born into it, be born again. Then we live as kingdom citizens. Present times have enabled us to re-evaluate our lives. Now let’s hand in our church membership as we knew it and begin living kingdom citizens, as Jesus did. Many of the ways of Gods Kingdom are out of alignment with the world view. Matthew 20:16 teaches that the first will be last and last will be first. This is almost upside down from what we have been accustomed to. Matthew 26 teaches that whoever wants to be great must be a servant of all. Proverbs 11:24 (TPT) teaches that “Generosity brings prosperity, but withholding from charity brings poverty”. Let us read from our bibles and make His kingdom our kingdom, all the way to understanding we have His authority on earth now today! Let us walk in faith, not fear.
Back to the original recipe for Church
Andy Elmes • March 29, 2020 • Andy Elmes
In the midst of the chaos we are witnessing something amazing is occurring – the church is being ‘reset’…..watching the church in the world, the church as we have known it is giving birth to the church as known in the Bible in Acts Chapter 2. Services and events are being replaced by being a community based people. We are discovering what the power of church is ….as it was meant to be originally…a community of people called out of darknes….in love with God and each other. What the devil meant for bad, God will work for good. The devil may have wanted to shut the church down through Covid-19, but he has in fact caused the birthing of the church with true identity. When we return to meeting together in our physical spaces, the church will be different in a positive way. We will appreciate our meetings much more, we will look forward to coming together much more maybe than we have done to date. The level of appreciation of everything will have changed, our attitudes to timeliness, other people etc., will be more greatly balanced. The church in Acts didn’t have any public meetings specifically, they didn’t have all the modern technology we have at our disposal for communication, they didn’t have buildings - they met in homes. However, they did have the power of God and Kingdom understanding. They were able to change the world and God used them to bring people into His Kingdom. As we are now, we do not meet in the buildings, the spaces we normally do but we are still the church of Jesus Christ, still the body of Christ. God will likewise use us to change the world. God is still God in the midst of what is going on right now. He knew it would happen as well! The recipe for the church in Acts 2 had some key ingredients; the same are available and applicable to us today. Firstly; make sure you are devoted yourselves to The Lord, not needing to be dependent on someone else to lead you. We must be a people of self-devotion. Secondly; be a people committed to living in His truth, surrounding ourselves with solid truth, not the opinions of others. Let us have the truth of God’s word only. This will grow our faith. Firmly know who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you. Let us dedicate ourselves not to flimsy teaching, but remain committed to good foundational teaching Thirdly; Fellowship …stay committed to staying connected. Where there is a will there is a way, thank the Lord for our technology now, helping us to stay connected. Let us be purposeful here, call people when Holy Spirit prompts you, and be responsive to this. Fourth; be a praying people in our closed rooms and also with families. Let us pray for friends and family, increasing the level of prayer and remaining committed to communion, not religiously but as the book of Acts defines it…..when believers gathered together in their homes with thankful hearts and took bread and wine together. We can all do this together or individually. The power of God is released to heal the sick and provide a protected layer on our households. God is not hindered in any way by what is happening now. A church will be born out of the church as it had become. If we stay as committed as the early church did we will see a new church born from this time.
Abide in the Lord
Andy Elmes • March 22, 2020 • Andy Elmes
As we are instructed by Government to be socially distanced from each other during this time of dealing with Covid-19, Pastor Andy provides a clear message about guarding our hearts and coming into deeper relationship with God. Now is the time not to be distant from God but to reach into him, feast on his presence keeping our lives based on The Word rather than being filled with fear from the evil one, media etc. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind".
Prepare The Way Of The Lord
Micah Wood • March 15, 2020 • Micah Wood
Ps Micah speaks about preparing the way of The Lord. Isaiah 40:3-5 NKJV refers....The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord ; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” In verses 3 and 4 the way of the Lord is prepared; in verse 5 the result of this is that the glory of God is revealed to all flesh. We must 'prepare the way of the Lord' in our hearts. Not so that we can be a container of God's glory, but so that we can be a conduit of God's glory to this world. God's purpose isn't to have a remnant, but to work through the remnant in order to pour out His Spirit. So, God doesn't just want a handful of believers in Family Church to see His glory; He wants to pour His glory out through His church so that the City sees His glory! The condition of Heaven is the responsibility of God, but the condition of the Earth is the responsibility of man. He has delegated authority to His Church, to His sons and daughters on the Earth. Our responsibility is to walk in such a relationship with God where He can flow through our lives. God wants to bring down the high places (pride), the crooked places (the parts of our lives that the world has warped), and the rough places (personality quirks that cause us to grate with others). As we allow God to prepare the way in our lives in this way, He will be able to pour His Spirit though our lives. God is the One who was, and who is, and who is to come.....is He the God who came, who is with us now, or who is coming? Yes! He is all of those things....He has prepared the way and is preparing the way. We live in the days of God's Spirit having been given to those who believe. Greater days than when Jesus walked on Earth! The Holy Spirit is here to prepare the way for the King who is coming. But each one in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him, ” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:23-28 NKJV). It is always the case that what God is doing in your life today is preparing the way for what God wants to do in and through your life tomorrow. Why does God need the way prepared? Certainly it is not for His sake, it's for humanity’s sake. He desires that all would come to repentance before He comes. So the preparation is not so that God can move as God can do what He likes! It’s so that people are able to receive the move of God: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5 NKJV). It is a great day for those who are ready and prepared for His coming.....but a dreadful day for those who are not prepared. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5 NKJV). God's heart is for all people to be prepared for His coming by the outpouring of His Spirit upon all flesh. "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat"? (II Peter 3:11-12 NKJV).
Are you taking your seat at the feast
Andy Elmes • March 8, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Following last weeks message about the Season we are in, Pastor Andy speaks concerning whether we are actually taking our seat at the feast which God has prepared for us (Psalm 23:5). Despite what is going on in the world right now, God is still in charge of the seasons. He has called us into a season of Feasting. We need to be true to the season we are in. We need two things when we go to a banquet.....Etiquette and also Appetite. God has invited us all to the feast but He can't make us come and eat! (Luke 14:7-24). We must exercise humility, not sitting in a seat that isn't meant for us. Likewise, when we put on a feast, we invite people who wouldn't usually be invited (verses 12 through 14). In Luke 14:15-24, Invitations were sent out but those who were invited made excuses about why they couldn't come. The host of the feast became angry when those who were invited made excuses about why they couldn't come. He was angry that they were missing out. But the host still wanted people to take those seats that would otherwise be empty. So the broken and lame and those from undesirable places were invited instead. The difference between the response of the 'content' and the 'hungry' was hugely different. The response of the hungry delights the heart of God! We are in a season of FEASTING. It's a time of "plenty" - like Egypt that experienced seven years of plenty followed by seven years of drought. Here is the challenge....Will we take our seat at the feasting table (the things that God is doing right now); Or will we allow someone else to take it? The "feast" isn't primarily about the food or the people who are there - it's what the feast represents that is more important. Don't miss out on what God is doing right now! Matthew 5:6 (NKJV) tells us..."Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled."....It's the hungry who are blessed with God's feast. How hungry are we for God?
Knowing the Season You're In
Andy Elmes • March 1, 2020 • Andy Elmes
Ps Andy speaks about the season we are in. God is a God of seasons, He has created seasons yet He is not subject to seasons. In our natural world there are different seasons. We are in a season of feasting where are believing God for big things! Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 speaks of the many differing seasons of life. There are times when we do different things, have different roles and responsibilities, etc....also times when we go through different experiences - such as loss, lack, abundance, etc. There are times for different relationships - someone may walk with us in one season of life, but not the next season. As a church we are being brought into a number of new relationships with other churches and Christian leaders. This includes the Assemblies of God that we have recently joined. Seasons come and go...this is natural. The next season may be similar to what we have been experiencing; other seasons may be radically different. Crucially, we must ensure that we are always true to the season we are in. We need to be "singing the sound" of the season that we are in today - not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today! We need to be "dressed" for the season we are in. We do this in the natural (shorts in summer, coats in winter) and we need to do this also in the spiritual...We need to discern when the seasons are changing and be true to the season we are in. We need to know when to change our "unseen clothes" in order to be true to the spiritual season we are in. King David - after his son died he washed himself and put on fresh clothes. He was able to move into what God has "next" for him. His "next" involved his son Solomon who became the greatest King who ever lived! In all seasons we must sow, no matter how tough it becomes. In due season we will reap a harvest. Let's make sure we are ready to change our clothes and get dressed correctly for what God is doing. We must make sure we are talking, singing and dressing appropriately for the season we are in.
The Life God Sees for Us
Gina Elmes • February 23, 2020 • Gina Elmes
Ps Gina speaks of the life that God sees for us.....God is a lover of feasts and celebrations! He set out seven feasts each year for the Children of Israel. Everyone is invited to these feasts. In John Chapter 7 we see Jesus attending the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. All Jews had travelled to Jerusalem to take part in this seven day feast. This was Wall to wall excitement in Jerusalem, and a celebration of God's provision to His people while they were in the wilderness - manna and water. During this feast they would celebrate the future outpouring of God's ‘water’, the Holy Spirit.....Then on the most important day of the feast, the last day, Jesus stood and shouted out to the crowds — “All you thirsty ones, come to me! Come to me and drink! Believe in me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing from your innermost being, just like the Scripture says!” Jesus was prophesying about the Holy Spirit that believers were being prepared to receive. But the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out upon them, because Jesus had not yet been unveiled in his full splendour. (John 7:37-39 TPT). Ps Gina then spoke of the vision that Ezekiel had about the River of God flowing from the temple......the temple being the life of the Spirit-filled believer. This is what God wants for us - His LIFE flowing from our lives...(Ezekiel 47:1-12 NKJV). Ezekiel saw this prophetic vision whilst he was in exile in Babylon and his land (that this prophecy was about) was desolate. This shows us that even when things look lifeless and impossible, God has other plans! This was prophetic for the Jews at that time but it is also for us today as Spirit-filled believers, temples of the Holy Spirit. God wants His Spirit to flow from our lives. His living Water is to fill us and flow out of our lives. He doesn't want us to stay ankle deep, knee deep, or even waist deep. He wants us to swim in His Living Waters and for it to flow out from our lives in increasing measures.
Come to the Table
Steuart Payne • February 16, 2020 • Steuart Payne
Pastor Steu speaks of the banquet which God has laid at his table for us in the presence of our enemies (Ps 23v5). Although our physical well-being is very important to God, our spiritual well-being is even more important. If we are to be spiritually strong and mature we need to consume healthy spiritual food and drink. God has laid a banqueting table before us and it is full of incredible food and drink that will only do us good if we consume it! It will cause spiritual growth and maturity. On His table are His Word (our food) and His Spirit (our drink). When we consume the spiritual food that God has laid before us, we will be filled with the life of God which does way more for us than any natural food. God has made the first move. The banquet has been prepared and there is a seat for every living soul at the table. Yet God can’t force anyone to come to His table, or to make them eat and drink the feast that He has set before them. This is an individual choice we must make for ourselves. When we taste the feast that God has laid before us, we will never forget it! It’s like nothing that the world can offer. It’s time to take our seat at God’s table. It’s time to stop being distracted by the world or influenced by those who are away from the table themselves. We ARE worthy to take our seat - because of His great love for us. God wants to wash away all insecurity, all fear, all inadequacy from our lives and remind us that we are worthy because of His mercy and grace, not because of anything we’ve done or could do! When it comes to eating God’s feast there is no limit to His supply and everything on His table is good for us. The more we eat and drink at God’s table, the more we will be filled with the ETERNAL LIFE OF GOD and the greater impact our lives will have on others as we go out to bring others in. How much we consume is simply dependent on how hungry we are.