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

Walking with Jesus – The Lion of Judah. 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”.

Know Jesus, Know Peace

Andy Elmes • October 4, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy speaks this week on “Know Jesus, Know Peace”. There are many storms in our loves right now so knowing Jesus and having His peace in our lives is really important. This is increasingly a time of anxiety and worry and people are experiencing uncertainty and pressure in aspects they used to have security in. The natural response here is fear. Just because we are believers and followers of Jesus does not make us exempt of storms in our lives. Jesus never took us out of the world when we were saved so we're going to experience and encounter things that the world experiences and encounters, but our experience in these storms should be a different experience. We are part of another kingdom, an unshakable Kingdom. Hebrews 12 says that everything that can be shaken will be shaken….this is happening now! We need to be making sure that our feet and lives are grounded in this unshakeable kingdom. God is our refuge and our strength. That's the truth but the truth is being tested in our lives today. God is our ever present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46). Therefore, we will not fear…… A very important fruit of the Holy Spirit living in us is peace - not the world’s peace but the peace that passes all understanding. In Mark’s gospel, the story of the disciples being in the boat with Jesus in a storm is recounted. A great storm rises up and it causes the disciples (even though they had the presence of God in the boat) great concern. The waves began to crash and break against the boat so that it was nearly swamped as Jesus was in the stern of the boat sleeping on a cushion. We are not exempt of storms around us, but we are different because we have Jesus in the boat of our lives and we can likewise have God’s peace in our lives which passes all natural understanding during stormy times.

Missional Church

Andy Elmes • September 27, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy speaks about us being a Missional Church. Recently back from a trip to African nations, he is keen to impart his experiences. We need to shift our thinking from being church attenders and church members to be missionaries. Right now, the world is crying out for truth. For those of us who are followers of Jesus, we have the answer! As we move forward into whatever this journey we're taking together looks like, we would dare each of us to think more missional. Let's not be caught up in an attendee way of thinking. There's no lock down on us being missional. So let's begin to turn our focus and shift on reaching people. This is a challenge to our hearts today! If you send Pastor Andy who's been unable to travel for six months to Zambia and place him in front of two hundred odd hungry missionary guys, you're going to have an explosion! But that explosion wasn't just for them. It was for all of us. I came back feeling enthused. What if we change the way we see ourselves and become a missional church more than we've ever been before. We are all missionaries in the places we live, work and relax. This is the challenge!

Learn from Jesus

Steuart Payne • September 20, 2020 • Steuart Payne

Learn from Jesus is the title for this week’s message given by Pastor Steuart Payne. Lockdown and loss of weekly gatherings has presented many challenges, the loss of God’s presence in a large meeting possibly the greatest. The need for our own personal relationship with God is now paramount. In Matthew 11 Jesus speaks of taking the yoke from those who are heavy laden, giving them rest. There are two actions we must take daily – coming to Him and learning from Him. Jesus is the one who releases us from every burden including all our sins. We need to draw close to Jesus, opening our hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s role is to lead us and teach us every step of way as we make the choice to walk with Jesus and couple ourselves to him. Sometimes ignorance, laziness, fear of losing control or pride makes us unteachable but we need to walk with and learn from Jesus every day, not just hang out with him occasionally.

Jesus Centric

Andy Elmes • September 13, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy speaks about Jesus being the centre of our lives, being Jesus Centric. Jesus deserves to be central to everything we are and everything we do now. We can look at an example of a person being egocentric where they are self-centred believing everything involves around them. But for followers of Jesus, He is to be the centre of all things in our lives. But we've sung more recently where it says Jesus at the centre of it all …..It’s a great song but we have to ask ourselves a question: Is that more than a song in our life? Is Jesus the centre of it all? Is He the centre of our relationships, finances and our view on things happening in life? Romans 11:36 (ESV) says “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” speaking of the supremacy of Christ. In reality, we need to divide our lives up into sections or subcategorize things so that we can begin to ask ourselves honest questions. He should be central to our Gospel message when we're sharing the gospel which should be Jesus centric not work centric based upon what people do or how people perform but Christ centric. All roads do not lead to God. There's one way to Salvation. There's one way to remove the separation between God and man and that's through Jesus Christ only. Acts 4:12 bluntly states (NIV) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”. Jesus went to the cross, shed his blood for our sins and caused a divine exchange that made the guilty innocent. Christ alone did this. Christ Jesus is the key component causing a person to be saved. Salvation is not possible without Jesus. Worship is an expression of our Salvation to the one who saved us - an expression of thanksgiving and gratitude to Jesus. We turn our eyes in worship, bringing our adoration. Let's start a worship revolution and get our eyes back on Jesus. Let's get Jesus centric again and say Jesus my worship may be out of tune, but it's all for you! Let's be Jesus Centric in our worship. The simplest of songs sang out of tune but dedicated from an earnest heart to the one who is seated on the throne are the songs that change the atmosphere. Be encouraged to be a worshipper not when you gather with others. Psalm 22:3 (NIV) says “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises”…..Jesus is enthroned in our praises again. Jesus Christ deserves the throne of our lives…..the central place of our lives where everything comes from, everything comes through, and everything returns back to him to enthrone. The key question is however …Who is sitting on the throne of our heart today?

Seeing Jesus for who He is

Andy Elmes • September 6, 2020 • Andy Elmes

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.

What is true repentance?

Andy Elmes • August 30, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy asks us “What is true repentance?” Recently we have focused on the gospel message, salvation, transformation, evangelism, believing and communicating the gospel. Communicating the message of Jesus is the key evangelistic activity. True salvation will allow God to move in someone’s life in a transforming way. This is often based on the decision made at the time of accepting Jesus. The difference between belonging to God and experiencing life change depends on whether true repentance has occurred. Repentance needs to be part of our invitation we make to people when giving the gospel message. The word must be understood correctly. It’s an invitation to come into a life better than anything known before. Jesus calls people to repent. Luke 13:3 or Matthew 4:17 (NIV) says “From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."” In Luke 5:32 Jesus calls sinners to repentance. In Acts 2:38, Peter preaches a similar message to that of Jesus “Repent and be baptized……” What did Jesus expect of someone who needed to repent? Old Testament repentance is more about feeling of remorse and regret. Wikipedia aligns with New Testament thinking and suggests that repentance as taught in the Bible is a call to persons to make a radical turn from one way of life to another. The repentance (metanoia) called for throughout the Bible is a summons to a personal, absolute and ultimate unconditional surrender to God as Sovereign. So New Testament meaning of repentance includes sorrow and regret but includes a 180 degree turn from self towards God. Changing the way we think to bringing into alignment with Gods will brings the transformed life. The dual action is ‘turning from’ and also ‘turning towards’. Without the ‘turning towards’, we are left in no man’s land so to speak. The speed of this ‘turn’ determines the transformation experience. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) illustrates this “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. God is willing to forgive us when we turn away ‘from’ (self) and ‘towards’ (Him). There needs to be an absolute turning from our will to God’s will for our life. This is almost a reverse manoeuvre from that of Adam in Genesis when Satan deceived him. Our prayer of salvation needs to include a turning away from our way and bringing our will into God’s will. Then we will fly and soar in our lives. If we are willing to change the way we live and think our lives can change beyond our imagination. We also need to be able to apply forgiveness and grace to someone who has turned away and towards. Romans 2:4 tells us that it is God’s goodness and His Kindness that causes a person to repent.

Sharing Jesus with Confidence

Steve Elmes • August 23, 2020 • Steve Elmes

Pastor Steve Elmes (Andy’s brother) speaks about Sharing Jesus with Confidence. Steve says that he finds God is speaking the same thing across the whole people of God, so coming from Bookham Baptist Church, this message is totally in line with our current journey. Sharing Jesus with others is a key thing and our attempts can have varying success. Scripture is the greatest teacher; in John 4, Jesus shares with a Samaritan woman. He begins by asking the women for a drink. This is an act of friendship and breaks through the Jew/Samaritan barrier building a relationship lovingly (as is the gospel itself). Jesus then artfully interacts with the woman in a respectful way. The four qualities of conversation are to listen, to notice, to serve and to wonder. To listen well is really crucial. If we listen well, we will notice and will then be able to serve or pray for people. Sometimes we need to remember we are just a link in the chain of bringing someone to Christ. We need to learn from Jesus about the art of conversation. There are ways of going deep with a person by wondering rather than interrogating…..much less confrontational…. We can also notice if we listen well, notice the tone of someone’s words and this can open up a conversation. This may give us an opportunity to share about Jesus. The story we all have to tell is an amazing one. Our personal story of how grace came to us and how God filled our lives is a key one. Knowing the whole story allows us to bring connection to someone else by bringing them to part of it. Situation is important too. We don’t speak about Jesus in a vacuum. Often it starts by “how are you in this situation”, perhaps, lockdown….etc. If God has placed us in a situation, God will use us there too, however unsuited we may feel. Without the Holy Spirit there is nothing. We speak Gods work by the empowering presence of Him in our lives. In the story of the woman at the well, Jesus has a supernatural insight into the woman’s life and this opens the women’s heart. We are all called to live in the power of the spirit as Jesus did. The company of God, the presence is God is vital. Jesus told people to wait for the Holy Spirit before going out. As we begin to use spiritual gifts and insights we will not always get it right nor necessarily be successful first time, but God does also always use our mistakes! Sharing Jesus belongs to all the people of God. The words “Soul Winner” are for all of us.

What do you believe about the Gospel?

Olivia Elmes • August 16, 2020 • Olivia Elmes

This week Olivia Elms asks us a key question – What do you believe about the Gospel? This is not what we have heard, or think, but what do we truly believe about the gospel. Many versions of what the gospel means exist for many people, but what does this mean for us? What we think can be fleeting but what we believe models our lives as deeply rooted convictions. What we believe determines our responses, rather than what we think. Romans 1:16 (NKJV) states “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek”. This is powerful! The gospel is the power of God to salvation for believers. It is not a story but the power of God and hence a call to action. We can know a lot about the gospel but it’s not until we believe with our hearts that our lives change. Do we know what we believe about the gospel? This is important. Sometimes we live in a glass box and we hear and know about the gospel but do not let Jesus into our lives because we have not believed His gospel message. The glass boxes need smashing! Are we hot or cold for Jesus? There is no middle ground or sitting on the fence. At some time we need to make the decision to believe the gospel for ourselves and become saved in reality. The gospel is a story of God’s love for us, a creator God loving His masterpiece of creation. But sin entered the world through Adam. Sin payments were made all the way through the Old Testament but the full payment was made by Jesus’ blood as He was sacrificed on the cross. John 3:16 (NKJV) says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Note this does not say that God tolerated the world or similar words; it is an expression of His love. It also tells us that salvation comes from believing, not doing or anything else, solely believing. This is why the question about what we believe is so crucial. It is a call to action, what do we believe? All roads do not lead to God, only Jesus leads to Lord God. We were created for relationship with God. Let us make the decision to start this relationship with God.

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.

Abiding Presence

Andy Elmes • July 19, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy speaks about being a people of presence and harvest for The Lord. We are a community of people who love and honour and have regard for the presence of God. Exodus 33:7-11 looks at the relationship Moses had with God under the old covenant and describes the Tent of Meeting where Moses would meet with the Lord in an intimate way. Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshipped God. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterwards, Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent (he stayed to get the remnant of God’s presence). So Moses had a designated place of meeting with The Lord, away from others, however other people benefitted from his time with The Lord. Moses would receive all he needed and also all he needed to lead other people, it was a relational not religious place, much as in the gospels where Jesus went away to be in the presence of The Father and receive all He needed. Moses (and Joshua) loved the presence of God, experiencing life changing moments. What Moses wanted most was the presence of God. Exodus 33:14 tells us that true rest is found in the presence of God. Verse 16 (NIV) is challenging “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” It is the presence of God that distinguishes us from others in the world, so if we do not walk in the presence of God we are no different to anyone else. Today we are in New Covenant times; we are able to know the presence of God in a greater way as God has achieved more for us through the blood of Jesus. The Old Covenant was about tents and temples made by man where the presence of God could be found momentarily. All these were just shadows of what we can now know. The New Testament does not say we meet Jesus in a temple or tent but that God is within us. Our lives have become temples and tents of meeting with God! Paul speaks to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV) “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Likewise for us, God is not waiting for us to meet with him in a temple or tent somewhere. God has now come to live in the presence of our lives. Also in 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV) Paul tells the church “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” This is as true for us now as it was for the early church then. However, we are not in the days of Moses; The God of outside of us also dwells inside us through the Holy Spirit. We need to realise this and glorify God in our bodies. This is the revelation within this week’s message from Pastor Andy - Moses experienced moments of presence but we are to know abiding presence. Each of us who have accepted Jesus has been made holy and righteous through God’s son-ship. We have been made so holy that the Holy Spirit would call us His Temple. Christ prepared our lives for the abiding presence of God in our lives just as the Tent had to be prepared for the presence of God in the Old Testament. We have abiding presence. He never leaves nor forsakes us. We cannot underestimate the value of this. The same presence of God that Moses experienced in the Tent is available to us every day. John 15:4-5 (NIV) tells us “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”. So if we are abiding in Him we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us. Let us do three things:- • Realise His presence in a greater way, have the revelation He is with us changing our lives. In 1 Samuel 3, Samuel is lying down inside the temple near the Ark, God calls Samuel and he says ‘here I am’. But God didn’t call from anywhere; he was already in the building. God spoke from the presence that was already there. Likewise, for us now, we have God in the Holy Spirit temple of our lives and he can speak any time. • Take and make time for His presence. Wherever we go, He is with us, we have His abiding presence. Let us acknowledge this daily, enjoy the revelation that God is within us. • When we realise His presence we can practice living out His presence. His presence changes everything so all the things we struggle with will alter. Everything begins with a realisation we have been given the ability to have abiding presence with God.