Archive blog entries 11 2017

27th Novemebr 2017

Good evening everyone


Old Hymns...........

I was listening to the radio & heard that old hymn, ‘Love Lifted Me’ by James Roe: ‘1 I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, from the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
 
Refrain: Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, Love lifted me.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, Love lifted me.
 
2 All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I'll cling, in His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true merits my soul's best songs; faithful loving service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain]
 
3 Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His love out of the angry waves;
He's the master of the sea, billows His will obey; He your Saviour wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain]’
 
There is something wonderful about the words of old hymns, including this hymn. They convey so much truth about my own salvation. I was the sinner sinking in my sin, lost & in danger of losing my soul in Hell forever. I cried out to Jesus to save me while hard afraid of Him as my Judge & Condemner. He reached down & lifted me giving me a new heart & bringing into His New Covenant of grace, mercy & the Spirit.
 
As a result of the peace He brought I dedicated my heart & all to Him. To the Lord Jesus I seek to remain true. As I have experienced His presence in my life, it has caused me to want to praise, thank & adore Him. I discovered His love very quickly after my conversion – within seconds, & realised that everything had changed that Tuesday in October 1987. Love so rich & true! Love so overwhelming & secure! Love so mighty & victorious! A love that filled my life & gave me purpose; it led me to dedicate myself to His service & His glory – the love of Jesus – what a discovery!
 
No matter where you are today, where your soul is – look to Jesus, He is perfect love. He is the Saviour of the world who still saves to the uttermost. You haven’t done anything that He cannot forgive. Will you commit your life, soul & body to Christ? Call out to Jesus for your salvation, it is the greatest thing you ever can do...
 
Then you can sing with me: ‘1 When morning gilds the sky, our hearts awaking cry: May Jesus Christ be praised! In all our work & prayer we ask His loving care: May Jesus Christ be praised!
 
2 To God, the Word on high, the hosts of angels cry: May Jesus Christ be praised! Let mortals too upraise their voices in hymns of praise: May Jesus Christ be praised!
 
3 Let earth's wide circle round in joyful notes resound: May Jesus Christ be praised! Let air & sea & sky from depth to height reply: May Jesus Christ be praised!
 
4 Be this, when day is past, of all our thoughts the last: May Jesus Christ be praised! The night becomes as day when from the heart we say: May Jesus Christ be praised!
 
5 Then let us join to sing to Christ, our loving King: May Jesus Christ be praised! Be this the eternal song through all the ages long: May Jesus Christ be praised!’ Translated by Edward Caswell. Amen
 
God Bless
Pastor Leslie


19th November 2017

Good evening everyone

Listening to God.........


Does God still speak today? If He does – how does He speak? Can we hear what God is saying? What do we do with what we think God has said to us? Is God still speaking to our nation? I will explore these questions below:

Does God still speak today? There are verses in Hebrews 3, verses 7-8, & 15, ‘Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Remember what the Scriptures says: ‘Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.’’ The context of the verses is first speaking about how faithful Christ was to God in all He did, & then about being faithful & obedient to the voice of the Spirit. John in the book of Revelation says seven times, ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ I believe God is still speaking to His churches. His people individually & to the world today.

If He does – how does He speak? The primary means God speaks today is through the Bible. He also can speak directly through His church to the world through the means of preaching, teaching, the prophetic ministries & the witness of the transformed lives of believers. He still speaks through dreams & visions to individuals. He also can speak through nature, circumstances, other people, & a donkey if needed. He also, I believe, still speaks to us directly. When reading the Bible, a passage or phrase can suddenly come alive as a Rhema word & we know if is specifically given to us for some reason. We can trust that what has come alive to us in that reading is God’s living words to us at that particular time. I believe God can also drop thoughts into our minds directly, even use strong impressions of what we should do.

Can we hear what God is saying? This is much more difficult because it requires three things: i. An ear, a heart a mind that are in tune with the voice of God. Who know when it is God, & therefore when obedience & faith are the only responses because of experience & the closeness of their relationship with the Lord Jesus. ii. The removal of impediments to hearing Him, & those other voices, influences or barriers that prevent us hearing. Many things can prevent us hearing. It seems, He still uses a still small voice & we need to unblock our ears, tune other voices out, abandon the good for the best, & practice living the freedom Christ offers. iii. An alertness & faith that expects God to speak & is ready to hear Him. I also believe God has much more to say than we are able to hear, or even want to hear.

What do we do with what we think God has said to us? This is a difficult thing to get right as it varies. There will be times that immediate obedience is the only response. At other times we will have to wait allowing the information, picture or impression, received to mature until God says we can use it. This requires knowledge, godly wisdom & complete submission to the will of God. Often we are to do nothing with it except open ourselves up to be changed by what we have received. This openness is critical to a developing faith & maturing spirituality. If we believe God has spoken, it is important that we do not harden our hearts, as the Hebrews 3 quote above tells us, as this often leads to a rebellious spirit & unbelief. Openly chose to believe & let God be God.

Is God still speaking to our nation? Yes, I sincerely believe He is through His Word & Church. Everyday across this land, men, women, young people & children are responding to the call to salvation in Christ. The Spirit is still speaking to the world convicting it of its sin, unrighteousness & its coming judgement. God is still interested enough, I believe, to speak about individual topics of interest, & offer grace & guidance to our nation. However, just like for us, will we & our nation hear what the Spirit is saying to His Church, & this nation today? Lord, help me to hear what Your Spirit is saying, & to obey & believe. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


God Bless 
Pastor Leslie


12th November 2017

Good evening everyone


What is Ministry?.......

Tonight in Church we explored this theme. One of the great misnomers, or wrong uses of the word ‘ministry’ is to place it solely within the confines of Church. For many people a minister is one ordained by the wider Movement or Church Denomination to act as its Pastor, Vicar, Priest or Church Leader in a local church. Therefore, many see a minister as a professional person, trained, equipped and appointed to lead a local church or group of churches. This contributed to what is known as a Sacred / Secular divide. In other words, the ministry within the Church is Sacred – religious, pertaining to God, spiritual etc; whereas, life & work outside in the ‘real world’ many think of as secular – humanistic, not linked to God, non-religious. This contributes to the notion that the Sacred has nothing to do with people’s lives away from or not connected to church.

This divorce between the Church & the world around it is not a modern thing, but it has certainly become more widely engrained in society in modern times. It used to be the case that many people recognised the Sacred as much belonging in the fields of Art, Culture, Science, Education, Politics, Welfare, Farming, Law & Order, Business & Care or Cure of the Sick - as in Church. The world beyond the Church doors was viewed to be made Sacred simply because everyone was accountable to God & therefore subject to either blessings for pleasing Him, or curses for disobeying or displeasing Him. The change began in Victorian times & has gathered pace since.

So, what is ministry? In Luke 4:16-30, we have the account of Jesus defining the parameters for His future ministry, & His own hometown’s rejection of Him as He began to: i. Challenge their outlook on what nationhood meant in God’s eyes, ii. Reveal God’s purposes for the world beyond Israel’s borders, & iii. Recount God’s past gracious dealings with Gentiles instead of with fellow Jews. There were basically four parts to Jesus’ ministry: i. A rich anointing by God in order to help accomplish His ministry; ii. be a preacher of the Gospel: tell people the good news about God’s plan for salvation & to bless; iii. His purposes: minister & act in accordance to the Kingdom of God bringing healing, deliverance, wholeness & fullness of life; iv. Proclaiming God’s plan for each person, each area, every nation & the world as a whole; often provoking the world’s hatred in response. In Ephesians 4:7-16, Paul writes about the fivefold ministry of the Church: Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelistic, Shepherding, & Teaching. The job of these ministries included two key things: i. Equip all the believers to minister; ii. Strengthen the Church thus enabling it to grow & flourish.

As a result, we can say these six things: i. Ministry is what every believer is called to, by God, whether in the context of Church, the home, workplace or community. ii. The Church, & its appointed ministers, is designed to strengthen, equip & enable believers to fulfil their own individual calls from God. iii. Ministry is not a narrow field in Church, but God’s people living under the Spirit’ anointing, preaching & sharing, by word & life, the truth about God’s salvation in Christ in the context of their 168 hour a week lives. iv. True Christian ministry is not confined to the modern, narrowly defined Sacred spaces, but should extend out into the world bringing God’s Kingdom rule & His love to people & society’s structures. v. Ministry is the outworking of our talents, skills & gifts, under the Spirit’s anointing, for the service of God &, through that, the strengthening, in Christ, of society. vi. Ministry can be hard & lead to antagonism from some quarters, but it is what God calls us to do in order to fulfil His will.

May each of us recognise God’s call to ministry on our lives, & minister for Christ in the context of our lives, fearlessly & boldly equipped by our local churches, anointed by God’s Spirit, & filled with His power, love & word. In Jesus’ name. Amen


God Bless
Pastor Leslie

 

5th November 2017

Good evening everyone.

Sanctified Memories:

The human brain is a complex, amazing organism. Within all its activites, sits the human mind. The mind itself is made up of a number of functions which are intrinsic to being. These functions include consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement & memory. The mind is an amazing conscious processor that allows us to experience life & grow & evolve in how we act, react & think. Memories include the database where the mind stores or archives its past experiences, thoughts & influences; it is also the function whereby the mind retrieves these memories & makes them available to us at any given moment. The human mind is so complex that it can store vast amounts of information which we will never again access, but the memories are still stored throughout the brain. These can be stored in the sensory memory, the short term memory or the long term memory.

Memories can help us know who we are, where we have come from, how we have become who we now are, & be positive or negative to our overall well-being. Thus they can be good or bad, wonderful or terrible, subconscious only surfacing in abstract forms, linked to a past trauma or equipping us for future success. The senses can stimulate a memory including touch – handling a familiar object. Many people’s most treasured possessions have no intrinsic value except in the sentimental memories invoked when handled or looked at. Outside influences such as a smells, sound, type of voice, music, an anniversary, a particular vista or scene or place, an experience or loss all bring memories flooding into our mind. Many people live in the past indwelling their memories of happier days when they were young or when doing particularly memorable things, or past trauma & sadness. Births, weddings, family get-togethers, school or college exam results, university graduations, each job, promotions at work, new business ventures, recognition, moving house, comradeship, & triumph over adversity all create memories.

As Christians one of the great things we are counselled to do in the Bible is to renew our thinking by ingesting or absorbing God’s Word. His Word has the power to transform our lives. Coming to faith in Christ is a defining moment transferring us from darkness to God’s Light, giving us a new heart & mind able to understand the things of God, & bringing us into the New Covenant with all God’s wonderful promises of salvation, blessing, & of His Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is also mind renewing, an ongoing, developing walk in the Spirit encountering God’s love, life & truth in a radically transforming way. Suffering, blessing, steps of faith, encouragement from other believers are also important means whereby we learn to trust Jesus more, to draw upon His grace & desire His Spirit’s fullness. Many people, after conversion grow in grace & experience the wonder of forgiveness & the new life in Christ.

However, one of the areas that do need to be sanctified, or brought under the lordship of Christ is our memories. Many suffer years of self-condemnation, guilt & loss because of unsanctified memories. Sometimes these memories are aids to repentance, forgiveness & cleansing – we have never properly, redemptively dealt with an issue or sin & the Spirit brings it back to our remembrance in order to do so. This week in Church we have again been looking at biblical Stewardship; a primary principle of which is that God owns everything, & has the right to be Lord of all – including our memories. Perhaps we need to invite God to do an audit of our memories, & to guide us through the process of renewing them, especially where they are hindering our walk with Jesus. Satan can cast up past memories of sin or failure as a way of destroying our freedom in Christ. May God help us to be biblically renewed in our minds, including our memories. May we also pray that the important milestones in our faith journey with Christ come once again to the fore in our minds, memories to encourage us, build faith & trust, & lead us forward into a Christ-honouring outlook on life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


God Bless
Pastor Leslie

 



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