A people of the Incarnation
Every Thursday a group of pastors gets together for the sole purpose of prayer. I always listen to the prayers and any conversations that might take place before or after the prayer time. Recently in one of these prayer meetings I jotted down some thoughts that were shared or prayed. Theses caught my attention and I felt they were God breathed, for me they had a sense of God speaking to us:
Sometimes we forget who we are as Christians. We are “badder" than we think. Even in the middle of a culture that is becoming increasingly anti-Christian, we are not looking for a cave to live in, we are looking for a platform to stand on. God has given us something to share that will be a blessing for all that will listen and hear. Paul is gone, Peter is gone. Who is God going to use today? He is going to use us. God is looking for people in the church to step up and step into their rightful place and calling as children of the Living God. We have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be excited about.
We believe we are a people of the resurrection, believe also that we are a people of the incarnation. Just as Jesus, when He walked on this earth, modeled for us what it means to live under the presence, power, and purposes of God, so can we model that type of living today. It is very clear from Romans 8:11 and other verses, that the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is alive in us today.
Believe it! Live it! Release it!
What does it mean to be a people of the incarnation?
If you are willing ...
In the book of Mark there is a story of a man with leprosy who approached Jesus with the hope of being healed.
Mark 1:40–42 (NASB95)
40 And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
It is obvious that the man had a certain expectation in his heart concerning Jesus' ability to heal him. When the leper said to Jesus, “If You are willing, You can make me clean”, he was making a bold statement of faith and confidence in the Lord’s ability to heal. He did not doubt that Jesus could heal him, he only seemed unsure whether Jesus was willing to heal him. This is interesting in light of the struggles many have with faith today, especially in the area of healing. Perhaps we struggle with the same dilemma. Many of us believe Jesus has the power to heal us but struggle with whether He is willing to heal us. We wrestle with all types of questions like, “Is it God’s will to heal me, is He using this sickness to teach me something, etc.”
Jesus is not only able to heal, but willing to heal- today as well as 2000 years ago. Jesus gave instructions to the disciples 2000 years ago and I believe those instructions apply to us today as well …
Matthew 10:7–8 (NASB95)
7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
God is asking us to share with others the life He has given to us- freely give what we have been freely given.
Do you feel comfortable praying for others that God would heal them? Are you able to pray in faith believing that God is both able and willing to heal?
Share Life Part 2
The third part of our church mission statement is … Share Life.
Life is one of those big Bible words. It is filled with meaning. We know from the Bible that God is the source of all life as we know it. In the very beginning of time God breathed His life into Adam and Adam became a living being.
There is no possibility for life of any type to exist when God withholds His breath.
God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden and in the center of the garden God planted the Tree of Life. God is the originator and sustainer of all life.
A very interesting passage of scripture is found in the book of Job:
14 “If He should determine to do so, If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, 15 All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust. (Job 34:14–15)
God the Father took His life and gave it to His Son Jesus Christ. Then God granted that Jesus would give that very same life to those who would believe in Him as the Savior of all mankind. Jesus said:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
Jesus is … the bread of life, the light of life, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth, and the life.
God has given to mankind natural life and He has also offered us eternal life. When we believe in Jesus Christ we receive eternal life both in the present and the future sense. We possess the very life of God from the day we give our lives to Him. God’s life is filled with vitality and energy.
We have been given so much that we can share with others.
Give it away today! Bless someone. Pray for them. Give them a word of encouragement. Speak a prophetic word into their lives. Freely you have received, now freely give.
Our church mission statement is … Encounter God, Love People, Share Life.
This past Sunday we looked at the Share Life portion of our mission statement. Share is an interesting word. It can mean to …
-give a portion of something to someone
-enjoy something jointly with another person
-possess something in common with others
-tell someone about something
In today’s terms when we make a post on Facebook we are sharing some idea or thought with those who might read our post.
For the purposes of our mission statement …
Share is to take of something I have been freely given and give it to another person to bless them. To Share Life is to see every person experience the greatness of God through their own personal encounter.
To Share Life with others it is people caring for people. When we take time to Share Life we let people know that we care and God cares.
How have you Shared Life with someone recently? How has someone Shared Life with you?
The Decisions of Men
Recently the Supreme Court passed a number of rulings that will, for better or for worse, dramatically affect our nation and our culture in the future. The decisions of men can dramatically affect the way we live our lives, but ultimately God is in control. The will of God will be done here on earth as in heaven. For a Christian, this is our source of hope.
One thing you lack ...
Prayer is greater than resolve
Domains of Darkness
As our culture struggles with serious moral issues, how do we as the church respond, especially if those moral issues stand in conflict with the Bible. It is important for us as Christians to keep in mind that real people suffer real anguish over sexual identity issues and other moral issues. As Christians, we of all people, should understand the struggle of the inner man that occurs because of sin and the fall of man. Paul says this in Romans:
Romans 7:21-23 NASB
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
These are real people with struggles that need our understanding and compassion. Compassion however, does not mean compromising biblical truth. We are to speak truth, but in love as it says in Ephesians (Eph 4.15). “In love” means speaking with great respect, ￼￼empathy, and humility. Every person who deals with moral issues is a real person who bears the image of God.
I am concerned that as Christians we are being shamed into believing lies and a false wisdom that is not from God. We are warned about this in Romans ...
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Our culture today is struggling with exalting self-fulfillment and self-autonomy over other people and truth itself. One of the lies of the sexual revolution is that sex is a private matter ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼and is does not affect anyone but myself.
"The sexual act is private, but our sexual decisions have public consequences, they are not done isolated from our communities and relationships with other people" (John Stonestreet).
We must not allow the world to shame us into silence. We need to be able to speak, but speak from an informed place and speak with wisdom and love. We can present our values without attacking and making derogatory comments about the other side. However, for cultures to drift morally, there must be a shaming of people into silence. This is something that we see happening today. If you speak up against any of the popular moral issues of today you will surely be shamed and pressured to change what you believe.
We are being led to believe that we cannot speak truth and love people at the same time. We do not have to chose between speaking the truth and being loving in the way we speak.
"Both truth and love find their existence in the person of Jesus Christ who is the ultimate expression of both truth and love" (John Stonestreet).
Jesus came to deliver all of us from our domains of sinful darkness, no matter what those struggles are.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
It is Jesus’ truth that sets us free ...
"... and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
We need to pray for ourselves and for all those in our culture caught in sin, that we and they would experience genuine encounters with God and find true freedom from sin.
Look to God
Prayer in its simplest form is communicating with God. I like to view prayer as looking to God for help, comfort, wisdom, for any and all aspects of life. In Numbers (Num 21:4-9) the people of Israel were complaining about Moses' leadership. This upset the Lord and He sends serpents among them. When people were bitten by the snakes they would die. The people repented of their sin and asked Moses to intercede for them before God. God instructs Moses to build a fiery serpent. He builds a bronze serpent and mounts it on a pole. Whoever is bitten by a snake, if they looked up to the serpent on the pole, would live and not die.
This is a picture of looking to God for deliverance from sin, clearly an Old Testament reference to the Gospel message. Jesus Christ was lifted up on a cross for our salvation.
It is so important that we learn to look to God first in prayer before trying to fix our problems with natural wisdom or self-effort. Prayer helps us to view life from an eternal perspective.
Posts are a collection of thoughts by the Pastors and leaders of Church on the Rock Melbourne.