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The Power of Vision

Chris Hoskins

October 13, 2019 • Chris Hoskins

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Do you know what time it is?

Andy Elmes • July 5, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Do you know what time it is? Pastor Andy asks this key question. We need to know what time we are in as a church right now. We need to learn to tell the time spiritually. The bible may tell us different things that will happen in various times but we may not have grasped this fully. 1 Chronicles 12:32 speaks of the peoples of Issachar (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) understanding the times they were in. Likewise, as the church, we need to understand times we are in with readiness to respond. We are in last days as the bible teaches. But do we know this, the days before the returning of Jesus Christ. He will come back to collect the people who belong to Him. In less than a second some will go to hell, some to heaven. No one knows the exact time but we can know the season we are in if we listen to the Holy Spirit and understand the nature of what is happening in the world. The global happenings now indicate times different from any before. We need to make ready for when Jesus returns. The Word does not give us exact times but it does give significant signposts. Jesus describes to His disciples how things will be before His return in Matthew 24 (TPT, extract of key verses) {His disciples came privately to where he was sitting and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what supernatural sign should we expect to signal your coming and the completion of this age?” Jesus answered, “At that time deception will run rampant. For many will appear on the scene claiming my authority or saying about themselves, ‘I am God’s Anointed,’ and they will lead many astray. You will hear of wars nearby and revolutions on every side, with more rumours of wars to come. Don’t panic or give in to your fears, for the breaking apart of the world’s systems is destined to happen. But it won’t yet be the end; it will still be unfolding. Nations will go to war against each other and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be terrible earthquakes—seismic events of epic proportion, horrible epidemics and famines in place after place. This is how the first contractions and birth pains of the new age will begin! You can expect to be persecuted, even killed; for you will be hated by all the nations because of your love for me. Then many will stop following me and fall away, and will betray one another….many lying prophets will arise, deceiving multitudes and leading them away from the path of truth. There will be such an increase of sin and lawlessness that those whose hearts once burned with passion for God and others will grow cold. But keep your hope to the end and you will experience life and deliverance. Yet through it all, this joyful assurance of the realm of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after this the end of this age will arrive. The appearing of the Son of Man will burst forth with the brightness of a lightning strike that shines from one end of the sky to the other, illuminating the earth. Concerning that day and exact hour, no one knows when it will arrive, not even the angels of heaven—only the Father knows. For it will be exactly like it was in the days of Noah when the Son of Man appears. Before the flood, people lived their lives eating, drinking, marrying, and having children. They didn’t realize the end was near until Noah entered the ark, and then suddenly, the flood came and took them all away in judgment. It will happen the same way when the Son of Man appears. At that time, two men will be working on the farm; one will be taken away in judgment, the other left. Two women will be grinding grain; one will be taken away in judgment, the other left. This is why you must stay alert: because no one knows the day your Lord will come}. Jesus is the ark people will now find salvation in……….but are we ready for this time? In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Paul also speaks of the last days (TPT, extracts from verses) {But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God. People will be self-centred and obsessed with money, boasting of great things as they strut around in pride and mock all that is right, ignoring their families, being ungrateful and ungodly, addicted to hateful and malicious slander; Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit, finding delight in the pleasures of this world rather than God. They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!} These descriptions do paint the times we are in now. What ought our response to all this be? We need to ensure our lives are ready for Him, no junk in our hearts. Also it’s a moment for the church to find its purpose…we need to be harvesters. God is speaking to His people. We do not know the hour or second but these are unusual days naturally and spiritually. If Jesus is returning soon, we must focus on harvest of souls. If our closest friends and family have not heard the good news they may be looking at an eternity of hell. This must motivate us and focus us. The fields are ripe for harvest (John 4:35)….people are emerging from lockdown. The harvesters and labourers are each of us, to rescue the lost. Nothing is as important as somebody’s eternal soul going to hell. Roughly one hundred people die per minute worldwide! Where will these people go….to a lost eternity if they have not heard about Jesus? God made a way for everyone to escape lost eternity. If they choose not to choose His Son, having heard of Him, then this is their decision. But our motivation must be to tell them firstly. We are not waiting for buildings to open but to focus on getting into the harvest field and save people. Harvest now is not bringing people to buildings, but the church being mobilised to go into other people’s worlds to tell them of Jesus. We have been able to rediscover ourselves as a community of people of God during lockdown. He is still sending us into the harvest. What time is it? Time to be mobilised! There are no last moments. It is about reaching our local community, neighbours, maybe using social media to spread the good news rather than anything else! In Acts 1:8 (NKJV) Jesus said “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Our local world is our Jerusalem. Our loved ones are our immediate concern. Let us ensure we are ready, that we know and understand the gospel. Are we ready for His return? Are we a wise or foolish virgins (Matthew 25), do we have oil in our lamps? Yes, scoffers will come in the last days as in 2 Peter 3:3-10 (NKJV) “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word are reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. Let us make sure we are ready, for ourselves ….and to help rescue others.

Protecting Our Unity

Andy Elmes • June 28, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Following from last week Pastor Andy speaks about Protecting Unity in the church. Last week the message spoke of God moving through His people, the Church. As His church, we need to live differently in order not to blend into the world. We have a light that is different to that of the world. Isaiah 61:1 tells us why we are different (NIV) “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord as anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”. The Spirit of God is upon us, this makes us different! Daily we need to choose to live by His Spirit. How we live and love will make us different to the world. Additionally we choose Unity rather than division. We believe God has a plan to use His church for His plans; hence we need to protect the church from strife and division. The enemy’s plans surely are to divide and conquer the church rendering it useless. 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV) says “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” Let us not be unaware of the devil’s schemes! Paul told the church in Ephesus how to live to protect unity and provide maturity – Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV) “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”. A unified church has great effect…unity in fact means acting as a single unit. Let us must march in step with the commission the Lord has given us. God reminds us how nothing is impossible when men remain united in speech and purpose (Tower of Babel story) – Genesis 11:6 (NIV) “The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them”. In verses 7 & 8 God confuses their language and scatters the people resulting in the cessation of their building. Satan is equally wary of Gods plans and can confuse our communication if we let him resulting in an inactive church! Our unity is precious to God, it also attracts commanded blessing. Psalm 133:1-3 (NKJV) tells us of this “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forevermore.” Unity needs to be a covering on our lives, to drip down over us all….there we get the commanded blessing. We must however protect our unity both in action and speech, building up rather than knocking down. Do not interpret unity for uniformity, free speech is powerful, but let us be of one spirit – God’s Spirit. We need to be wise in how and where we speak. Issues between us are usually best solved person to person as Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:24, rather than public airings on social media! Better to use these channels of communication to display a better way of loving and living undergirded with the spirit of love. Different views on some things are acceptable, but we do need to walk in the spirit of unity. What matters most is lost people going to a lost eternity. The saving of the lost should be at the top of our priorities and should drive our unity as we are God’s plan to prevent this. We need kingdom etiquette in how we protect unity as Paul teaches in 2 Timothy 2:23-24(NIV) “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful”. Let us be careful that the spirit we operate in does not bring quarrels or dissention - Proverbs 6:19 states that God abhors dissention in His church. Our freedom of speech is a gift but we must be careful how we use it. A divided church God cannot use but a united church God can use to turn the world upside down. 1 Corinthians 12:27 tells us that we are a family, a team, however we need to understand the season we are in now as God has a plan to use us but the enemy has a plan to separate us. We must strengthen the bond of unity in peace. Beware of spiritual auto-immune diseases…..let us celebrate our differences in spiritual unity. The separator, the devil, is very subtle, thankfully Christ has rescued us. Before his arrest, Jesus prayed a prayer of oneness, unity, for all his believers that we need to pray and keep as our mantra – John 17:20 & following (NLT) “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began”. Let us be the answer to this prayer. The spirit of The Lord is upon us and He has anointed us to make a difference to the world. Let us protect our unity, making us an unstoppable force on this earth. We are not peripheral but central to the world. Let us be wise in how we express ourselves, using all our communication channels to glorify God. Amen.

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.