THE POWER OF PRAISE - With a voice of triumph

Psalm 47:1-5 KJ21
O clap your hands, all ye people! Shout unto God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is to be feared; He is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.

O clap your hands, all ye people!
The bible says to bring a clap offering Bring a clap offering. The Hebrew word - Taqa (Tah-Kah) means to clap, strike, to thrust, give a blow, blast, and it occurs more than 65 times. Taqa' indicates energy and enthusiasm. Here all the nations are commanded to clap their hands and shout triumphantly to God. God has built into the human being an almost instinctive urge to clap and shout when victory is experienced.

 

All Ye people
Praise is not just for enthusiastic people - it's for all God's people, not just the enthusiastic but everyone! Learn how to bring praise to God: to clap our hands and shout unto God. Don't miss out on bringing your praise to God!

Shout unto God with the voice of triumph!
The biggest worship song is Darlene Zschech's 'Shout to the Lord'. It encapsulates worship - Your praise touching heaven, lifting God above all else, a shout of praise. Don't be afraid to shout to the Lord! Develop your shout! If we want to see a breakthrough - we need to learn how to shout his praise because Praise comes before Breakthrough.

Shabach (Shabar) means, ‘to address in loud tones,’ ‘to command,’ ‘to shout'. Christians have to find the voice of triumph - the voice of triumph is a prophetic voice. It's a voice of faith. A voice that believes that in what God can do! Faith speaks. Faith shouts aloud! 

Don't let your voice be pulled into negativity.
Keep it up
Keep speaking life
Keep your voice in faith

 Psalm 150
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord

 

No chorus is too loud, no orchestra too large, no Psalm too lofty for the lauding of the Lord of Hosts. - Charles Spurgeon

 

For the Lord Most High is to be feared;
He is worthy. Give him all the glory. Honour the Lord above all else, the awesome wonder of God. Praise lifts him up in our lives. Praise lifts him up in the church.

 

Every good gift that we have had from the cradle up has come from God. If a man just stops to think what he has to praise God for, he will find there is enough to keep him singing praises for a week. - D.L. Moody

 

He is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
Only God can turn things around and bring the victory. Our victory is in him. As we praise him and lift him up, as we shout unto God with a voice of triumph, He can bring about a mighty victory. Gideon leads his small army to victory!

 

Why we praise

1. PRAISE ELEVATES GOD IN OUR LIFE

Psalm 148: 5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever— he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Put him in his rightful place. In praise we lift him up - and he deserves to lifted up! If you lift him up in your life and he can do wonders. Even Jesus could not perform miracles because of a lack of honour! 

Praise honours God. Praise reminds us that God is our creator / God is big.

 

2. PRAISE DEFEATS APATHY

Being in Cambodia and Africa, you see the contrast. You realise that one of our big enemies in NZ is apathy! We have too many options and too much is focused on us and the enemy uses it to keep us busy and distracted. 

Praise crashes through apathy! You don't see apathetic people shouting out to the Lord! Let your praise kick apathy off your life! 

 

3. PRAISE SHIFTS US

When we start to praise, it lifts us out of the dramas of this life and it lifts our spirit. 
When I start to praise... I feel a spirit of faith comes upon me. The weight of the world drops off, I feel that all these things are possible with God and I receive fresh vision.

 

4. PRAISE MAKES THE ENEMY FLEE

While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled

Praise is like holding your ground in the midst of a battle. It pushes back the darkness the surrounds, and blocks the attacks. Evil will not stick around if we’re praising our God, who will fight our battles for us. Praise contains the sound of heaven - the enemy will flee when there is an atmosphere of praise! Get Heaven into your world!

 

5. PRAISE LEADS US TO VICTORY

22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords.

He's the same God who won Gideon's victory, He can still do it today. Let's find our praise / our voice of triumph! The greatest shout of praise

Matthew 27: 50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52and tombs opened

 

 

 

RISE & BUILD - One day in your house

When out fishing yesterday with one of our guys what the house of God meant to him. He told me a story of how him and his wife were a bit off track and we doing it tough. Having talked, they agreed they had to get back in Church and within a day, one of our staff had met a friend of theirs and asked about them! Within a few weeks they joined C3 and said it was from there that they went from strength to strength.

What inspires him about the house of God? Seeing people saved. 

What was his big moment in the house? Getting healed one Sunday - That's a pretty good One Day in the house. 

 

Psalm 84: How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord almighty
2 - My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God
4 - Blessed are those who dwell in your house - they are ever praising you

10 - Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;

David gets to this point of revelation
He knows where he wants to be
He knows where he belongs
He knows where his heart is
He wants to be in the presence of God
He wants to be in God's house

Message bible – One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.

It’s a crazy statement!
Who would say that statement?
Only someone who has experienced the transforming power of one day in the house of God.Only someone who has received forgiveness and redemption.
Only someone who has spent a thousand days elsewhere.
Someone who believes the presence of God is better than anything else the world has to offer.

We all need to get to this point of revelation, to know where we belong. Church is not a place to attend - it's a place to belong to.

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,

The house of God is our spiritual home. The Christian life is not meant to be a solo journey. In a transient world - find where you belong. There is no church attending in the bible - there is only belonging to the body - God's household. Don't attend - belong!

 

Better - is one day
The presence of God is better than anything the world can come up with. It's better for you, It's better for your future, For your kids. The next generation needs the house of God! Lets refresh our love for God's house! 

 

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
David - He could have been anywhere, he was the king! He had experienced every prize the world had to offer - money, fame, power, all his desires… Yet he decides the best place to be is serving in the house of God. For him the presence of God was greater than anything else. He doesn't try and take the main role - he is happy to serve.

He shows us all that we are created for the presence of God, that we leave our titles and ego's and come together under his name - and serve. David would rather be a doorkeeper in the house – than dwell somewhere else... What would you rather?

MSG I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin

 

Psalm 26: 8 NIV LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.

Keep the love for God's house. I am so passionate about God's house! I've had many incredible moments in church: I got saved in the house, I discovered the presence of God.

So many times over the years of my life - walking into church and needing the presence of God and just standing in the worship and being filled with His spirit. So many times it restored me and raised up, it filled me with life.  

I got discipled over many years by many people.
I found my purpose and calling.
I found Fiona at church one Sunday.
Our kids got dedicated here, saved and baptised in the house.
I have shared in some of the greatest victories, breakthroughs, healings and salvations in this place.

It's a blessing and an honour!! 
It's our Fathers house. People in the world need to know about their Father's house.

 

3 things we can do for the church

1. STAND FOR IT
It's an easy target. It's easy to critique and criticise - that takes no skill. But to build something - that takes more commitment and skill. At it’s worst it’s just like the rest of the world – broken, disappointing, selfish, hypocritical. But at it’s best –it is the power of God unto salvation - it changes our lives! At it’s best it's the light of the world, a pathway to the lost – the gate of heaven on this earth. We are called to stand for it and build it! 

 

2. HELP IT SHINE
When the church shines - people see Jesus. We represent Jesus in this world. The world hasn’t seen what the church is all about yet – we need to show them! Catch a vision of our purpose – to show the world what God’s all about! You speak for God!

 

3. BUILD IT
In Rise and Build - we get to literally build the house of a God! The church should be the greatest outfit on earth – it’s created to be great. Lets make it a place of colour, a place of fun, a place of passion and vision, creativity and the power of God. His house is our responsibility! 

DISCIPLEMAKERS - Search & Rescue

I remember Dylan's birthday at the pools and all the kids all took off... One kid - he was out of control. It was one of the worst 3 hours of my life.

I imagined telling the parents that we started out with 7 kids and made it back with 6...85% is not bad. That would be unacceptable to any parent. How much more to Our Father,  that we would accept the someone was lost and not coming back?!

Thankfully we came back with everyone.

This is our God. The same God that came after you. He wants it to matter to us - how many are lost and how many get rescued.

 

Ezekiel 34: 16 NIV I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak

 

I will search for the lost
This subject is without a doubt a calling on our church. It's also for every Christian. The heart of God is to seek out his lost children. We are here today because he just couldn't leave it alone! He couldn't switch off and give up, he wanted you back so much.

How awesome is that!! Don't miss it!
Do you know it? Have you felt the love of the Father like that?
It's intense, it's Powerful! It's a revelation of his love! It still touches me as one of my most vivid memories - God turning up in my life. He loved us so much - he asked his son to come and find us. I still don't comprehend it all 30 years later.

Luke 19:10 For the son of man came to seek and save the lost

Don't be like the prodigal son who never really knew his Father love until he came back. You can be in the house and not really know him. That's why people run away.

 

and bring back the strays
There are many more prodigals who need to come back home and experience the love of the Father. They need to be found! In 2017 let's encourage each other to take it further! When you think about, We came here to reach out to the lost. We came here with purpose. We didn't come here to start a club - to play religious games - to have a casual little Church...We came to reach the lost and make disciples!  

He has asked us to carry his passion for the lost sons and daughters because that was us once. Never become like the older brother, in the family but not sharing the Father's vision, holding his lost brother in contempt. Some Christians have no interest in the lost. They have forgotten who they were. Christians are lost people who have been found by Christ

Romans 3: 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Strays are those who were on track but they drifted, they were with the shepherd but they took their eyes of him and ended up on another path. If you have strayed - it's time to come home. 

God wants you back. If you are lost, let God find you today.

 

I will bind up the injured
We are in the search and rescue business. We are God's Search and rescue team. Some people just need to be found and others need a rescue! They have been injured, We have to help! The church is here to help! We all need help sometimes - haven’t we all needed help in our lives?

Let's return the favour!
How awesome were those people who helped us... Let's be those people for others. A busy life will make you forget how much help you have received. God asks, will you help?

God didn't stop when it got hard. Jesus didn't when it got inconvenient… He just asks us to help and pay the price of helping. We are God's helpers. We are his search and rescue team. Some people get knocked around in life. People can carry around these wounds their whole life. Some Christians have never quite got over things that have happened to them years ago! They end up living below their full potential, afraid to really step out - because of their wounds. 

God is our healer. Let God bind you up. God can set you free. Don't live injured for another moment, receive freedom.

Psalm 147: 3 He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds

 

and strengthen the weak
That's why we have so many leaders. Leaders help strengthen people and strengthen the weak! We have weak moments and we need strong Christians around us. This is the power of community.

Joel 3: 10 Let the weak say I am strong

When we have God in our lives and strong brothers and sisters around us we can overcome any situation. Church is a place of transformation: People come in lost, weak, broken down and God transforms them.

 

Let us all be part of searching, rescuing, binding up and strengthening lives.

Helping God's transforming power to touch many lives!

 

 

 

Here's how we can all help

Find you place on the Search & Rescue team

1. Search for the lost - People with a gifts evangelism, preaching, leadership, Prophetic, word of knowledge, giving, Administration, people who care about people

2. Bring back the strays - Pastors, shepherds, connectors, connect leaders, friends, family members

3. Bind up the injured - Helpers, gifts of mercy, healing, miracles, discernment, encouragers, people in the medical profession

4. Strengthen the weak - Leaders, teachers, trainers, Apostles, Faith

 

THE CAUSE - Producing Fruit

I always choose the wrong lane on the motorway… No matter which one I choose, there seems to be a faster one!

Starting the year is like choosing a lane.

Are you trying to choose the lanes in your life, trying to swap between… Or will you take his pathway in 2017? The new year is an opportunity to make a change. Change the lane!

Psalm 65: 11 You crown the year with your goodness and your pathway drips with abundance

One of the characteristics of God's pathway is serving.
Jesus came to serve us and has called us to serve him.

 

Titus 3:14 ESV
And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

 

And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works,
We have to learn how.
It's a learning process. If you don't learn - we will just go with what's easiest! Serving is never the easiest thing to do. Too many Christians are just doing what is easy, but that doesn't produce any fruit in their lives.

Consequently the world doesn't see the fruit of following Christ. Why would people want to go to church - if they can't see the fruit in our lives?! Our faith is not about living an easy life - it's about following Christ and producing fruit. Serving doesn't come naturally to most people, certainly not in this generation but it is what sets us apart.  

Matt 20: 28
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many

What are you devoted to?
The word doesn't just say to do some good works but: learn to devote yourself - love it! My boys do Saturday work - They do it because I ask / make them, but I would love to see the day they are devoted to it! Dad “we are here and ready to serve!!” God is our father is looking forward to the day that we devote ourselves to serving Him. That we would come and say, Dad “I'm here and I'm ready to serve”.

 

so as to help cases of urgent need,
Without Christians serving, urgent needs don't get met. There is so much need in our nation and without the church acting together, we cannot really change anything. Serving enables the church to be effective and impacting.

Without serving the church becomes a glorified social network, the army of God becomes a social club - we can’t let it happen. There are urgent needs! Serving meets the needs of people and reflects Christ in our actions. Lets meet some needs this year!

 

and not be unfruitful.
God has created us to be fruitful

John 15: 8 This is to my Fathers glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples

Serving leads to fruitfulness.
We show ourselves to be Christ's disciples as we serve. Without serving we become consumers - heard it all, seen it all, been there, done that... Serving awakens your faith and makes you feel part of the great commission!

I've had some of our great servants questioned - why do you do it?
It is the Christian life - if you haven't served - you haven't walked with Christ! It's not an optional extra, there is no other Christian life. He is the ultimate servant and he calls us all to serve. Like Jesus, we are most effective in life when we serve. With our committed efforts God will cause kingdom fruit to be produced in our lives and in the church

 

Great reasons to serve

1. TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK
I have received a lot - I want to give something back!
God has been so good to us, It blesses God as we serve.

You have given everything for me - what can I do for you
Bob Dylan

Ephesians 2:10 LB It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.

 

2. OBEDIENCE - WE ARE ASKED TO SERVE
In 2017 find a way to please God

Romans 12: 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

 

3. THE POWER OF UNITY
We are better together

“The Church is the Church only when it exists for others...not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

It's only together that we can have the impact our City needs to see. I believe together we can see something special in 2017! Imagine a whole church that serves together, what could that church could achieve!

 

4. IT IS A WITNESS - IT DEMONSTRATES OUR FAITH!
Don't just have a season / a good patch when you were involved and served. Overcome the challenges - and devote yourself to serving! Don't let your employer see the best of you and God gets a few scraps, The odd serving role - the odd working bee, give your best to the Lord.

2017 is such an opportunity to step into something new in GodSome people are going to discover who they are in Christ! Some people are going to be part of a great kingdom victory! Some people are going to throw off selfishness and anxiety and throw themselves into the Cause! 

THE GREAT EXCHANGE - What if God was one of us

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus,
Tryin' to make his way home? 

- Joan Osborne 'What if God was one of us' 1995

 

No.1 in 4 countries in 1995, Joan Osborne's song has some interesting lyrics. 
It represents the way a log of people would feel about God.

He's up there... I'm down here... God doesn't understand.
If God was one of us - he would understand.
He would know what it's like for me, a regular person trying to make it through in the world. 

Christmas is a time to reflect on the impact Jesus had when he came for us when he did become one of us, and he does understand. 

 

1 Timothy 1:15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy - so that in me the worst of sinners Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 

 

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,

Jesus came for us. 
He came to save us. 
He was one of us. 

He walked in our shoes - he loved people and saw great victories - but he also betrayed by one of his own and suffered a brutal death on our behalf. 

He understands us. 
He knows the joys and pain and trials of life - He won the victory of it. 
Let the great exchange take place in your life - your life for his. 
Jesus didn't come just to walk around - he came to set you free! The message of Christmas is that Jesus came for us - and that changes everything. 

 

of whom I am the worst

This is a very humble statement.
He could have said a lot of other things: I've had a few bad days, I didn't know Jesus back then... but He said, of whom I am the worst. 

Sometimes it's hard for us to humble ourselves.
Excuses are more popular than humbleness.
We live in a society that likes to justify what they do.
Everyone wants to justify what they are doing - justifying their sin. 

It's been a tough time for me... God knows what's happening with me... 

But Paul would lift his hand and say - that I am the worst of sinners. Paul owns his sin and accepts Christ's work of redemption. Salvation requires repentance. As long as we justify our own behaviour we cannot receive the redemptive work of Christ. 

The great exchanges requires a humble spirit. We lay down our life, our failures, our sin, our selfishness and we take up the life of Christ - of freedom, relationship and purpose. 

 

But for that very reason I was shown mercy - so that in me the worst of sinners Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life

Mercy is a blessing that is an act of divine favour. 
This Christmas, remember the mercy that has been shown to you. The divine favour that is upon your life. 

The reason Paul can be so bold about his failings, is that he knows what God has already done. In the great exchange, God takes our personal pain, our embarrassing past and turns it around. 

It becomes a testimony, an example of what God can do. If he can do it in my life, he can do it in yours. We can then speak of our failings - because they become a story of how God intervened in our lives. This is the great exchange, the secrets that we hide in silence turn into stories that celebrate Christ. We go from recipients of God's grace to ministers of God's grace.

 

Isaiah 61:3 To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. 

 

3 Reasons Jesus Came

1 Freedom

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burded again by a yoke of slavery. 

Don't go back. 
Take your freedom. 
Live in freedom. 

 

2 Relationship

Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 

Jesus wants a relationship with you. 
Don't just know about Jesus - build a relationship! Go deeper! 

 

3 Purpose

2 Timothy 1:7 He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 

We have incredible purpose in our lives because of Christ. It's a life worth living.

 

THE GREAT EXCHANGE - The end of Selfie

At least 27 people died in "selfie-related" incidents around the world last year - that's more than those who died from shark attacks. 

We live in a world of selfies... How is that selfishness working out for our society?

But here is the contrast... 

 

Philippians 3:7-11 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 

 

This is the great exchange: Our lives, for His. 
He came to earth and sought us out - he took the burden and weight of our sin and triumphed over it on the cross. He asks us to consider our old lives a loss to gain this new life. 
We can't have our life and his life - we have to choose which one we will consider a loss. 

 

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. 

What's more important to you? 
Your life, or relationship with Christ? 
Paul thought it was worth everything - he was willing to lose everything to pursue a relationship with Christ. 

What about our faith?
Is ours a radical faith and a counter cultural lifestyle?
Or are we trying to have it both ways - our life and Christ too?
A relationship with Christ without inconvenience to our way of life? 

A functioning relationship on any level requires equal investment. We cannot question Christ's investment into having a relationship with us, but what is our investment? 
He invites us to join him in laying down our life to gain this new life - let's get him back in the place of priority in our lives! 

 

I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him

Paul says his old life is garbage - that he may gain Christ. Paul didn't have a bad life at all - he was a roman citizen, a pharisee and a zealot: he was the religious hero! But he traded it all and considered it garbage that he could gain Christ.

We live in a world obsessed with self - and we can catch the bug!
We can be tempted to place too much importance on our lives.
Have we bought into the world's idea of my life and my rights?!

We can all struggle. Having been in the ministry for 22 years, with the world's slogan of self... some days I want my life back!

But, where would I be without him.
Without Christ intervening in my life when I had nearly lost it - without the call of God. 
I think of a young man lost in this world: bad decisions getting him into a bad place. But one decision, to surrender all to Christ changed everything.  

His impact in my life has been complete and utterly transforming!!! 
I want to do my best to say my old life is garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in him. I want to encourage you in your own life - to consider your life and your rights and your opportunity garbage that you may gain Christ and be found in him. 

Where else would you want to be found? This summer, in 2017... be found in him. 

 

How to have a relationship with Jesus Christ

1 Pay the price for the real thing

Surrender all to him.
Not some, not 50%... surrender all. 

We live in a world of fakes. The problem with fakes is that they don't last long and when you really need it... it falls apart! 

The difference between the takes and the real thing is always the cost. 
How much did it cost you? Don't go through the motions with God - that is just religion, it's fake. Pay the price. Surrender it all. 

Matthew 16:24 ESV Then Jesus told his discples, "if anyone would come afer me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

2 Seek him

Jeremiah 29:13 ESV You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

You've got to put your whole heart into it if you want to find God. 
A relationship with God requires time.
Try to have any relationship without time - that relationship fades...

Every morning, get your time with God.
Get back into prayer, the word, worship.
Make it your daily habit - before breakfast or before the gym or before work.
Put Jesus at the center! 

 

3 Change

1 John 3:4 No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him

We have to change. Let a kingdom transformation take place in your life. 
We can't have a relationship with Christ and stay the same. 
For some of us - it's time to change! 
What is holding you back? What changes do you need to make right now? 

 

4 Stay the course

Walk in his pathway and don't give up.
Don't get offended.
Don't backslide. 
Continue to walk with him. 

Having walked for 30 years, you see so many give up. 
If you walk way, you let the devil win. 
If you walk away, you grieve the Father who paid such a price to win your freedom. 
If you walk away, you never get to find out what God had planned. 

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Stay the course. 

Get Your Radical Back

In an old Primal clip was a young radical leader who was sold out to the cause of Christ. He was radical. That young radical leader was me and I'm still here and in faith for the future. 

But we can lose somethings along the way and as Christians, our calling is to keep the faith, to keep our radical spirit alive or we just become a religious version of the world. 

 

Ephesians 4:1 NIV As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 

 

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, 
Paul accepted the cost of serving God - in fact, he embraced it! The books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus are all testament to his commitment. It is Paul who writes some of the most inspiring words - from prison. Paul calls himself a prisoner for the Lord. 

Great soldiers are those who know they are dead already - Bruce Monk

Unless we are fully surrendered to the will of God: 
We will never see his power manifest in our lives
We can live with kingdom potential our whole lives but never see it realised

We are on a charge against religious Christianity - let us not be those that come to church sometimes, not connected, not serving... no mission! There is no power, no breakthrough in religion. 

 

I urge you
Paul is so passionate about people stepping out of their old life because he had the most dramatic transformation. He urges us to make the change.
To step forward into the kingdom life, into a life of faith. 
To reject the old life. 
To hear from God. 

The call of God is not a big billboard blaring its message. 
It is a whisper from God... and like a divine window that opens for you, there's always timing on it. If we miss that, we miss our future in God. Andrew and Simon dropped their nets and followed Jesus when they heard the call. 

 

Matthew 4:18-20 NIV As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him. 

 

Imagine if Peter didn't drop those nets! He could have made all the usual excuses: I'm just getting my life together, it's not a god time for me... 

The call of God never comes at a good time - it comes at God's time. 

Peter's nets were good - he had a job, he was being productive but it wasn't God's best for Peter. There would be no New Testament church without him leaving his nets! 

 

Leave Your Nets

Why don't more Christians respond to the call of God? 

1 We feel unworthy of the call
Christ made you worthy. You are worthy of his call. Don't try and earn God's favour - walk in it!

2 Fear to step into the call
Don't live on the fringe of the kingdom. Let your faith overcome fear.  

3 Discouragement
Every Christian has been here - Don't let one bad situation derail your future. This is an easy win for the Devil - discouraged Christians do not rise to the call. Offload discouragement - forgive and enter in. 

4 A busy life
If we are too busy for the call of God - we need to change our priorities! 

5 A good life/ordinary life
Christ did not save us so we could live a good life. He saved us out of sin and darkness so we could live int he light and be the light of the world! Don't settle for a normal life - reach out for a supernatural life! 

 

To live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 
We can't change the calling. This is the high call of God - don't try and bargain him down, instead let him lift you up! We only have one life that we can't live again. 

Let's get the radical back in our lives! You weren't born for insignificance. Get your radical back is getting back to the call of God upon your life.
Come back to the person God created you to be. 
Leave your nets and follow the call of God!

LOST & FOUND

Matthew 9:35 NIV Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 

 

The gospel is a call to go out and make disciples. 
To find people. 
A calling to reach the lost! 

Jesus went out to where the people were - he didn't wait in Jerusalem for them to come! He went out! This is why we have gone out to four locations across Auckland. This is why we have come here, because the Son of God came after us and we need to follow his example and go after lost people. 

 

Matthew 9:36 NIV When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 

 

Busy people don't see. 
Are we too busy to see what God is wanting to do? 

Jesus had compassion. 
Have we lost our compassion? Has the world taught us not to care? Has our world hardered us so much that even the Christians have lost compassion?! Don't ignore what is happening around you - let it touch you and motivate you! 

Compassion moved him
Let our hearts be moved afresh with the love of God to respond to the great need. Our hearts need to be touched by what touches Jesus: people, lost people. 
Who are we if we take no interest in the greatest passion of the person we call Lord? 

Because they were harassed and helpless, like sheet without a shepherd
We can ask: Where were all the shepherds? Everyone needs a shepherd to help them. 
People are still harassed and helpless sheep without a shepherd who need to know that God is real and has made a way for them. We have to build a strong church that can overcome the works of the devil and give people hope and encouragement. You and I are those shepherds. 

 

Matthew 9:37 NIV Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

 

Jesus acknowledges that the kingdom of God is short of workers. He shows us this contrast of thinking. Jesus says: The harvest is ready. It's the workers that are lacking. 

We see if the other way around: we think the harvest has issues that people don't want to follow God and that there are all these great Christians and Churches waiting for the harvest. But Jesus helps us understand that there is no problem with the harvest and that people are ready now... The people of Auckland are ready!

God is going to send people to the church who cares about the harvest, the church that raises up workers for the harvest field! 

 

Matthew 9:38 NIV Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." 

 

He is the Lord of the harvest.
The harvest matters to God.
We are part of that harvest. 

He asks us as recipients of the harvest, to help in the fields. Our church is called to the harvest - every week we see people standing and committing themselves to Jesus. Let's ask the Lord of the harvest for more workers! Let us be a church who are captured by the opportunity to be part of God's end time harvest! 

 

The harvest won't come without prayer & work

1 Pray

The harvest won't come without prayers. Not just 10 minutes of prayer - not even an hour of prayer, but regular, committed prayer. 

Pray for the church
Pray for your leaders
Pray for people

You'll be amazed at what happens when you commit to prayer. 

 

2 Work

We are the workers in that harvest field. 

The harvest field is: 
Your street
Your work
Your friends
Your family

You have to act = you have to work. Our friends and family won't just want to come to church - we have to work at it. God's harvest won't come without workers. 

Ecclesiasties 11:4 AMP He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favourable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap