A Prayer of Confession for our time

A prayer prayed by Pastor Joe Wright at the opening of the Kansas State Senate. Not sure when it was but sometime before 1999. Still relevant today.

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that:
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it a choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the airwaves with profanity and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your
will… Amen


Word for Australia from Brian Simmons Sept 2014

Delivered at H.I.M. Conference, Brisbane 23-26 Sept 2014

God has a wonderful word He wants to speak over Australia. The land down under will become one of the most desirable places to live on earth as the Holy Spirit begins to fall, kissing the hearts of His worshippers. Throughout your nation, the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit, a wave of God favor is about to sweep over you. Churches will grow, new converts will bring more, and churches will be filled with more new converts. Established churches will be like the fathers and mothers of this great move of God. Expect to see many who have migrated to Australia, especially Iranians and middle eastern refugees become mighty evangelists after they come in contact with God’s power flowing in the churches of Australia.

My wife and I just returned from a three week ministry tour of the beloved nation. While there we both received a number of dreams from God, Holy Spirit inspired visions, and words of prophecy for that beautiful land. Allow me to share the 7 prophetic words He spoke to my wife and me. Although Australia is highlighted, I believe these words apply to the wonderful nation of New Zealand as well! These will begin to manifest immediately and move into greater fulfillment throughout 2015:

1. Australia will experience an immediate Holy Spirit shift that could be compared to the WINDOWS of heaven being open over your nation. This involves great financial blessing that will increase (Malachi 3:10-11), but even greater will be the revelation of the Holy Spirit that comes over the nation. Of all the nations, Australia will be given insight into global events that will startle the powers that be. You will be given eyes to see and ears to hear and the Spirit of Understanding will rest upon your political leaders, intercessors, and pastors. Expect to see an even greater alliance forged between Australia and Israel.

2. Australia will be a healing center. Many healings will come to the praying believers who have great faith for healing. The anointing of Smith Wigglesworth, the noted healing evangelist of generations past will be re-deposited in the church. Healing services will begin to fill with people turning to Jesus Christ. I awoke this morning to the sounds of, “I am the Lord who heals you, I am the Lord your healer.” As a sign that you will be healing nation, there will be a great healing of the rift between the native Australians and the government. Watch a tearful move of God sweep into Canberra.

3. Truth will prevail. Aussies love the truth, hate the hype and have been given great discernment. God has put a root of truth into your DNA. You will help the global church navigate many thorny theological issues that will soon arise. Authors will be anointed to point us to truth. You will carry the Spirit of Truth and the Word of Truth as discernment flows through you. Never fall back from your calling to preach the truth.

4. The Battle of Hope continues. The Hope of Christ must win over every pocket of fear of the future. Hope is the answer and will become a great invitation to the lost in your nation to come to the God of Hope. Every state of your nation must bring forth your message of hope! Hope come back and burn bright in Oz! Hope will win in the end! I saw Perth give birth to a move of mercy, giving compassion to the Asians that have come to your land. Perth will soon be called “a global City of Refuge” (See Joshua 20).

5. Judah praises. I see high praises rising from all over the nation. Aboriginals will join in as the celebration of freedom and power sweeps through the church. Expect new moves of God, much like Hillsong, to come forth with a brand new sound that will cause shaking and trembling in God’s presence.

6. You will move from following the pack to leading the pack. As my Aussie friend says, it smells better up front anyway! Your leadership calling will not be stifled. An apostolic renewal will come. What was cut short and went dormant will now break forth with new grace as true apostles begin to emerge. This move of leadership grace will startle Australians who have been content to let other nations lead the way, but now grace has come for you to lay hold of your destiny and use your voice to bring wisdom to global decisions. Your greatest export to the nations will be the move of God’s Spirit.

7. The Gift of Fellowship (Mateship). The redemptive calling of Australia is to model community, fellowship, partnership in the gospel, fighting for your brother and sister, serving them as you display the love Jesus speaks of, “So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.” John 13:34-35 TPT

Lead the way Australia, we’re waiting to celebrate your victories! So we will watch the nation of Australia experience God’s kiss this coming year. May the lovers of God take the nation!

Brian Simmons is known as a passionate lover of God. After a dramatic conversion to Christ, Brian knew that God was calling him to go to the unreached people of the world and present the gospel of God’s grace to all who would listen. With his wife Candice and their three children, he spent nearly eight years in the tropical rain forest of the Darien Province of Panama as a church planter, translator, and consultant. Brian was involved in the Paya-Kuna New Testament translation project. He studied linguistics and Bible translation principles with New Tribes Mission.
After their ministry in the jungle, Brian was instrumental in planting a thriving church in New England (U.S.), and now travels full time as a speaker and Bible teacher. He is also the lead translator for The Passion Translation Project which will result in a new, dynamic version of the Bible for this generation.


The Secret Place

Gordon MacDonald, in his book, “Restoring your Spiritual Passion” talks about us running on empty; like a motor car which has run out of petrol. We push our empty selves hard up the hills and then, exhausted we coast down the slopes. It’s not the life God wants us to have!

Somehow in the busyness of our lives and the demands of our culture we have lost our energy for God. We suspect that there is something wrong and think that either, we are not working hard enough, or God is ignoring us. Or perhaps both.

MacDonald says quite plainly that we are so spiritually flat because we have lost our intimacy with God. It is this intimacy which gives us fuel for the journey of life, which leads us into the abundance of what God offers us.

 

The various writers of the Psalms discovered this and have unburdened their souls about their own intimate journeys of discovery. Sometimes we need to share in their exclamations of praise, sometimes in their struggles and disappointments but, more than anything, we need to join with them in their delight in God.

As far as we know, the psalms were all written by men – a number by the priests and worship leaders in the Temple, but mostly by men who spent their time out in the bush. Almost exactly half of the psalms are attributed to David (another 18 can be added, if we follow the ascriptions in the Septuagint). David was the original bush poet. He was an out doors man. A man of the desert, who lived in the bush, slept in caves, hunted for his food.

He was a soldier. A man who had been in the thick of battle, who led his army from the front. He was a king, chosen by God as a child, who had lived in a palace as a boy and died at the head of a dynasty which was to lead all the way to Jesus.

David knew God. He knew God intimately as One whom he could address as the Almighty, as his Shepherd and as his friend. He knew God as the One who confronted Him, helped him, guided him and loved him. David knew the abundance and wonder of the real life of the Spirit.

The secret, says Gordon MacDonald, is to be found in time spent with God. He specifically highlights our need for a safe place, still times and special friends. As I was reflecting on this in preparation for the sermon on the Psalms today, I realised that these are exactly the things which have been taken from us in our modern age. The psalmists knew them well, especially David the Shepherd. Returning at night with the flocks, the shepherds would see them safe in a cave shelter and then sit together, as special friends to reminisce on the day, to marvel at the stars and to just be quiet together before the fire. We don’t have much of that anymore.

24-7But we can, with just a little effort. We will be setting up a Prayer Room here at the church to run from August 22 to 30. These kind of Prayer Rooms were initiated by the 24-7 Prayer Movement which started in England in 1999 and which is rapidly bringing new spiritual energy to tired Christ Followers and a new excitement to people who had already rejected Christianity. It is really not anything new though; just a rediscovery of ancient practices which are still relevant in our modern world.

People have discovered that spending just one hour alone with God is a dramatic life-changing experience. A still time in a safe place with a special friend. There is no “training” or “teaching” or “formula”. There is no expectation, or performance required. This is God changing us from within. I will tell more about it this morning and over the next few weeks. I believe that with some basic Doctrine (Alpha), the Bible (E100 Challenge) and Prayer (24-7 Prayer Room) we build a foundation for the abundant Kingdom life which Jesus has promised to those who follow Him. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and He invites us to follow Him into the life which is worthy of the Lord.

God bless and Amen


Fellowship of the Unashamed

I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problems recognizing me – my banner will be clear!

Anonymous African Pastor – Nailed to his wall.


Isaiah 58

Haven’t had much time to blog in the last while … But day off today, Margie at work and my chores done quickly. And I found the WordPress app for iPad!

At church last night we watched the DVD from Foundations for Farming in which Brian Oldreive speaks about the vision to rebuild Zimbabwe using Isaiah 58 as a guideline. It’s a big and practical vision which is already making a difference in that desperate country. Brian was recently in Australia and it was good to chat to him about his vision.

But I digress … What really sparked my attention in his presentation (which was a just teensy bit slow and wandering) was the five point plan for nation-building which he identified in Isaiah 58. I see a great relevance also for building up the church.
Here are the five points:
1. Let God be first. (Do not be rebellious. Is 58:1-3a)
2. Do not be selfish. (Is 58:3a-6)
3. Serve the poor. (Is 58:6-11)
4. Prepare for the harvest. (Is 58:11)
5. Let the people build on the old-age foundations (of God) (Is 58:12)

Fairly obvious, you say. You’re right, it is always pretty obvious actually.
But think about it .. How often do we head for the fourth point (evangelism) without doing the first three things.
1. We have to start with God, we must seek His face, we must not be rebellious (seek our own way).
2. We must do away with selfishness. Brian said that selfishness is the cause of every sin – thinking about that sweeping statement, I guess it’s true. We do seem to be driven by a self before others syndrome. Thinking about others before ourselves and having a generous spirit in foregiveness as well as ‘things’ will be a radical change for many Christians.
3. Jesus’ concern was always first for the poor. We build churches for the middle class and hope that we’ll get some rich people too. We don’t know how to minister to the poor except by giving handouts. How about being a friend?
4. With these points in place we can begin to grow the crop. We will have a mission and a purpose which concurs with that of God. We are ready be be a well watered garden.
5. Let the people build on the age-old foundations. Teach Godly principles from the Word of God.

Right, now let’s see if this app works ….


The Feast of Christ the King

This Sunday – the Feast of Christ the King, marks the end of the Christian year. It ends in triumph. Not only has Jesus redeemed us from our sins, not only is He risen from the dead, not only has He ascended to the right hand of God but His mission has climaxed in a great finale. It is the celebration of Christ the King – He reigns in victory at the end of time: every issue has been dealt with, every wrong has been made right, every hurt has been healed, every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord of all.
Of course this has not all yet happened, but we are confident of its eventuality for we are a people of faith. The Kingdom has come – it is now, even though it is not yet. We trust in the Word of God, we know its truth – we know that Christ is King for He is Lord of our lives.
A feature of the sermon texts for this day is the name which is given to Jesus as He takes His place as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jeremiah, in chapter 23 verse 6 says that “the name by which He will be called is ʻThe Lord Our Righteousnessʼ”. Not, ʻthe Lord is our righteousnessʼ for the verb is absent in the Hebrew. His name is Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness. “Righteousness” is not really a good word in the translation but its the closest we can come in English. Directly translated the word means ʻstraightnessʼ in the sense that we would talk of a ʻstraight guyʼ meaning someone who has no hidden agenda, who can be trusted and who is a really good friend. It was used in the context of community where someone promotes the well-being and peace of community. In the context of Jeremiahʼs prophecy we see that Jesus comes into a destroyed and scattered community to bring them back into the place of peace and well-being. And He does it most remarkably at the Cross of Calvary. Between two criminals – a consequence of a destroyed and scattered community – He speaks peace. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”. “Paradise” is a Persian word which describes a walled garden – perhaps not unlike our image of the Garden of Eden. The Creator enters into His creation, to restore the lost, to bring back the scattered and to heal those who are wounded. He takes them back to the place of beginnings, before the
mess that it has become. He even brings salvation to those who mock Him about His ability to save Himself. Indeed He is Jehovah Tsidkenu. Our celebration of Christ the King means also that we personally proclaim Jesus as Lord of our life. We yield the struggle to Him, we accept the grace which He gives and we commit ourselves to live the new life of the Spirit. Have you done that? Are you doing that? The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (the Jewish Feast of the Harvest) was to empower the followers of Christ to fulfill the mission of Christ. We begin by living our lives differently – no longer under our own steam but in a life entrusted to Jesus. We become, as Paul so eloquently put it, “convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8:38,39)

Athanansian Creed

Whoever wants to be saved should above all cling to the catholic faith. (Note: Not Roman Catholic!)

Whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable will doubtless perish eternally.

Now this is the catholic faith: We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons for dividing the divine being.

For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another.

But the deity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, co-eternal in majesty.

What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Hol Spirit.

Uncreated is the Father; uncreated in the Son; uncreated is the Spirit.

The Father is infinite; the Son is infinite; the Holy Spirit is infinite.

Eternal is the Father; eternal is the Son; eternal is the Spirit: And yet there are not three eternal beings, but one who is eternal; as there are not three uncreated and unlimited beings, but one who is uncreated and unlimited.

Almighty is the Father; almighty is the Son; almighty is the Spirit: And yet there are not three almighty beings, but one who is almighty.

Thus the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God: And yet there are not three gods but one God.

Thus the Father is Lord; the Son is Lord; the Holy Spirit is Lord: And yet there are not three lords, but one Lord.

As Christian truth compels us to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so catholic religion forbids us to say that there are three goods or lords.

The Father was neither made or created nor begotten; the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, no three spirits.

And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, co-eternal and co-equal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.

Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.

It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh.

For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: Tha our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and man.

He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother – existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.

Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ.

He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity.

He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures.

For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man.

He suffered death for our salvation. He descended into hell and rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

At his coming all people shall rise bodily to give account of their own deeds

Those who have done good will enter eternal life, those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

This is the catholic faith.

One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.