Spiritual Success 4- Fellowship

March 12, 2018

So far in this series on how to achieve true spiritual success, we have looked at reading the Word of God, and prayer. The third step involves a step that is to some is strangely controversial… fellowship.




There’s a famous song by Gerry and the Pacemakers, the theme of Liverpool football club, “You’ll never walk alone.” It revolves around the basic human need we all have of fellowship, camaraderie, friends we can talk to and connect with. Yet the question of Church fellowship is oddly controversial in this day and age, because almost every week I am meeting mature, godly wonderful Christians who explain to me why they love God but hate church, and prefer to walk alone!


A husband and wife were taking early one Sunday morning. The husband confessed that he hates Church and refuses to go. The wife demanded three good reasons…


He told her. “First, the congregation is cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I just don’t want to go.”

“Well, honey”, she replied, “I have three good reasons why you should go,” his wife replied. “First, the congregation is warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you are the pastor. So get dressed.”


David writes,

Psalm 122:1 (ESV Strong's)

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”


Glad someone was glad. I get it. I’ve had many times, years even, when I wasn’t glad to go to church. We’ve all been bored by church or hurt by Christians, and many by pastors, somewhere in the past. I understand, because I too have been viciously attacked by so called men of God. I too have found Church laboured, painful, boring and not worth investing time into.


Rev Denny Brake once joked, “I don't know why some people change churches - what difference does it make which one you stay home from?”


But the third step to becoming spiritually successful is to be actively linked in to the right church. As we examine this today, please don’t think I am threatening you in any way. Ignite is full of people who have been hurt elsewhere, and this is specifically what I have prayed for. When I took the helm here, I prayed that God would use this church to draw hurting believers together, to have them become part of a church family that loves and supports them and to fan into fame and release the gifts they have to fulfil their lives!





Statistics now tell us that going to church once a month is considered a regular attender. They also suggest that on our Coast more than half of professed believers do not attend a church regularly. They love God but hate Church.


But here is the jump. Statistics, and my experience, tell us that those who attend regularly and get involved in Church grow in spiritual maturity and become more spiritually successful, while those who neglect Church stagnate and fail to grow in Christ the way they should. I believe we are better together. Church is not my idea, it’s God’s idea, and we as leaders ought to seek establish the churches He wants. The Bible says,


Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV Strong's)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.


You can be a Christian without going to church. You can be married and not live together, but it is not the normal thing. Most married people live together, and most Christians should go to church. This passage clearly commands that we must not neglect meeting together. Studies show that if you miss Church for more than a month, the odds are almost 2 to 1 that you won’t go for the next year.


 Yes, you can spend time in the Word at home, and yes you can pray by yourself. But there is something amazing, something special, something spiritual that happens when we get together. The Lord bestows a special blessing for unity, but how can we even have unity if one party is absent?


I’m this message I want to outline reasons why you should make every effort to come to church. Obviously, I’m preaching to the converted, because you are here already. If you have been hurt or turned off church elsewhere, please understand I am not shaming or accusing you, I understand, and I am offering the hand of fellowship and the pledge that I will do all in my power as a pastor to love, nurture and bless you.


So what does being part of a church family offer you, and why should we bother to meet together at all?



1.                   WE CAN WORSHIP TOGETHER


Worship is not the support act to the main event at church. It is a core reason why the church exists.


Something very special happens when we worship together in unity. Sure, you can put on a CD and sing at home or in the car, but when we gather together in unity there is a sense of awe and blessing. When we worship corporately there is a great sense of belonging, even if you don’t agree with everything that goes on in your church, you can still worship in unity.


Psalms 22:3 (ESV Strong's)

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.


When we worship together in unity, there the Lord is enthroned. The Hebrew word for enthroned means several things, including inhabit, tarrying and marrying. When we praise the Lord together it is kind of like God marries in with us.


And let me also say, there is no set way in which we worship. Some raise their hands, some don’t. Some sing loudly, some don’t. Some praise God best with set songs, others like worship free form. Ignite is here to accommodate all styles of worship, and I am not going to force you to worship a certain way. When we worship together, the key ingredient I believe is unity. Unity means that we don’t criticise the way others worship, and we don’t force them to change to our way. Can you love the Lord and love each other more than you love getting your own way in worship?


1 Timothy 2:8 (ESV Strong's)

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling;


We need to worship together without anger or quarrels. And I know we all worship differently, but we can still worship together, because unity is more important that you doing your thing your way!


That being said, I’m hoping we all grow together in our understanding and expression of worship. Who among us knows everything about worshipping God? Isn’t one of the great joys of church being able to live and journey and discover the truths of God together?




There is a trend today for churches to move away from Biblical teaching. Ignite will not be that sort of church, because the Word of God is central to everything we do. That’s why so many of us have pledged to read the Bible daily.


And when you come to church, I am promising to centre all our teaching on God’s Word. If it’s not in the Bible, it’s not happening at Ignite, and it’s that simple! I’m going to preach the Word, and I’m going to live the Word. Here’s what God commands me…


2 Timothy 4:2-3 (ESV Strong's)

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,


If you want church teaching to tickle your ears, not challenge you in any way and make you feel ok, find another church! I am sworn to proclaim the truth of God’s Word no matter the consequences. And I preach from what the Lord is showing me, not random stuff I am making up or some other guy’s message I read on the internet. In season, out of season, any season I will preach the Word of the Lord, like it or not!


And at the end of the day, you don’t want my opinion do you? You want God’s, right?


Some believe they can skip church and download a few good messages from YouTube or watch God TV. I have observed that people doing that tend to find preachers that, to quote the verse, “suit their passions.” Listening to recorded messages is fine, I encourage it, but as your pastor I have made a pledge to God to love you support you and stir your gifts into flame, ignite them if you will!


I know you can definitely find better preachers, better teachers and better sermons than mine out there online, but what you won’t find is someone who loves you and is called to pastor you like I am.


News flash… TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Brian’s Houston, Chuck Swindoll, as good as those preachers are, they don’t know you from Adam. They are not committed to your walk with Christ, your spiritual success, the release of your gifts… they don’t even know who you are! You cannot substitute recordings of famous preachers for a pastor who genuinely cares about you.


As your pastor, though my teaching and preaching might be limited next to those great leaders, I’m different because I am totally committed to seeing your life with Christ grow. If you want an advocate, if you want a pastor who cares about your life, I’m your guy! I take the calling of a shepherd very seriously.  This terrifies me so much that some time ago I started regularly praying this prayer…


1 Kings 3:9 (ESV Strong's)

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”


I can’t be a proper leader for Ignite Christian Church, I don’t have the skills and ability. But God does, and I humbly rely on Him and His wisdom to direct this church. If I start preaching my own wisdom, if I cannot support what I’m teaching from the Bible, show me, because I need to preach God’s Word as much as you need to listen to God’s Word! Together we grow and learn through the years.


3.                   WE CAN FELLOWSHIP TOGETHER


Fellowship is a great strength we have here at Ignite. After church, everyone stays for ages, and when we have a need, scores of people support it in prayer and other ways.


Acts 2:42 (ESV Strong's)

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


The early Church understood fellowship, as they sold belongings and cared for each other, and they moved from house to house. They hung out, in other words, they fellowshipped.


Fellowship is not talking about football results or TV celebrities, it is talking about Jesus. It is praying for each other. It’s caring for each other. It is Dig In and connect groups and men’s and women’s groups. It’s growing closer as friends, learning to trust each other, stirring one another towards greatness in Christ. You can’t get this by yourself skipping church, and believers who are dislocated from church are missing out on this key ingredient of growth.


I have dislocated my shoulders many times and had operations to secure them in their sockets. When dislocated there is incredible pain and the arm is basically useless, but it’s still attached to my body. That’s what we are like without fellowship. We are still Christians, still part of the body, but in pain and not really useful to the body. The cry of my heart is to put dislocated Christians back in the socket, back in the place in the body where they belong. And as many of you have experienced, even when you get back there is a period of pain as you heal. I want ignite to be a place of healing and knitting in.


4.                   WE CAN ENCOURAGE TOGETHER


1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.


Believers should encourage one another, and that’s why I insist on unity at Ignite. If you have an issue with something, or with someone, talk to a leader, seek advice, seek help, but don’t make your way around spreading gossip and discord. We need to be careful to guard our mouths and only speak words of encouragement and love to build others up!


Ephesians 4:29 (ESV Strong's)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.


Church should be a place where we encourage one another, and no issue, unless it directly contradicts God’s Word, no issue is bigger than the love, unity and encouragement we should have one for another. Please church, don’t love your own opinion more than you love each other! Don’t get so focussed on an issue or what you believe is true that you hurt others, or attack others.


5.                   WE CAN EVANGELISE TOGETHER


If we want to see people come to know Jesus, nothing beats an on fire, ignited church!


Acts 2:46-47 (ESV Strong's)

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.


When the early church functioned properly, they had the Word, fellowship, worship and people were added daily. We need to reach out to our community and see people coming to Jesus!


Together we are better in sharing the gospel. That’s why Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs, not in their own. And when we share our faith, let’s do so kindly, gently and respectfully…


1 Peter 3:15 (ESV Strong's)

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,


Coming up we are going to start reaching out to our community, first by prayer walking the streets and then by sharing the good news that Jesus loves them!


Romans 10:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”


It’s time to take our beautiful feet and start walking the dirty, dusty streets of our community!


6.                   WE CAN SERVE TOGETHER


If you are dislocated from church, you cut off almost all the avenues of Christian service. You might still share the gospel to odd people you meet, but how do you follow up those who make commitments? You can’t do it all on your own, and neither were you designed to do it all on your own.


1 Peter 4:10 (ESV Strong's)

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:


Here at Ignite, I don’t do everything. I cannot do everything, I’m busy enough and I still work in my job! So my plan, which is really God’s plan, is that I stir up gifts that are within others, and let them serve doing what they love and are gifted at. If you are here, and have a gift in your heart, do 101 and 201 (next week), and let me open the door for you to serve the Lord here.


Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV Strong's)

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,


My calling as a pastor is not to build a big building. It’s not to manage a big corporation, it’s not to become a famous preacher. My calling is to shepherd, it is to stir up within you the gifts of service you have, and then to open the door for them to be used. My job is to train and equip you to become everything you ought to be in Christ, then allow you to operate in your gifting!


One of the greatest reasons Christians have to go to church is so they can serve the Lord better. You can get trained, equiped and inspired, and then through the Church find a way of expressing that gift. There is a particular satisfaction that comes from serving the Lord in your gifting, and Church is the ideal place to do this.




So the first step towards becoming spiritually successful is to read God’s Word every day, the second is to pray without ceasing, and the third is to not just attend church, but to become a part of the church body. And I would love you to be a part of Ignite Christian Church.  I would love the joy and the honour of watching your life become fruitful for Jesus. And I guarantee you, this place is good soil, yielding 30, 60 and 100 fold!


Yet Ignite church is under attack. Yes unchurched people might attack us. Yes the government tries to paralyse us with paperwork and legislation. Sometimes even other Christians might attack and criticise us. But by far the greatest threat we have to this body of believers comes from within!


Disunity kills churches that should be full of life. Beware of anything that disrupts unity, even if you feel you are right and the others are wrong!


Colossians 3:13-14 (ESV Strong's)

bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.


Look, I understand that we are human, and we have opinions about people, things and the way we do things. But let me be frank, unless something is out and out sin as described in the Bible, I cannot tolerate threats to the beautiful unity we have here at Ignite. I’ve seen churches spilt over the colour of carpets or the placement of a cross or an altar. I was even at a Baptist church once that nearly split over an excess water bill, because there were too many baptisms!


I don’t expect you to agree with everything, or everyone. But you must commit to disagreeing agreeably, not gossiping to others about whatever your problem is and stirring up trouble. Jesus said a house divided will not stand, because He understood the destructive power of disunity.


When we elevate our personal preferences or petty disagreements above unity and our love for each other, let me be bold here, I believe it is sin, and the devil uses this to destroy God’s work in a church. So before you get on your high hobby horse and cause strife, ask yourself if Jesus would be talking this way.  Remember, this is the same Jesus who prayed…


John 17:21-22 (ESV Strong's)

that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,


Would Paul talk this way, the Paul that said,


1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV Strong's)

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.


Spiritual Success 3- Prayer

March 5, 2018

Last week we looking at the first great step towards becoming a spiritual success… reading the Word of God daily. This was not a glamorous or earth shattering revelation to many of you, but the steps towards becoming truly successful in God’s economy are not bolts for the blue, they are simple, achievable and total acts of devotion. 


The second area, like the first, will not be a surprise, but you will recognise it as an essential building block to your spiritual success.  I’m talking about prayer.




Simply put, prayer is just talking to God. It involves you talking to Him, and then you listening to Him. It is not you talking at Him, but as you pray it involves you opening your heart to hear, to see, to understand what it is He is saying to you.


And we are instructed to pray at all times…


Ephesians 6:18 (ESV Strong's)

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.


So we are instructed to pray in the Spirit at all times, with all prayer (worship) and supplication (requests).


The Greek word for prayer is a broad one, not specifically reverved for church or synagogue. We can pray publicly, privately, verbally, or silently. We can pray kneeling, sitting, standing, lying down, or even while we are driving. We can pray with our eyes open or closed. (If you pray while you’re driving, I strongly recommend the first option.) You can pray in any position, at any time, anywhere, and in fact we are commanded to do this, all the time!




Prayer has been a massive part of the life of every significant man or woman of God in the Bible, and throughout history. Some like Daniel prayed every morning habitually, another we read about like Nehemiah faced a fearful tense situation and shot up a quick prayer. Jesus Himself prayed many times as recorded in Scripture, praying early in the morning in Mark 1:35, praying for friends, people, healings, miracles and even in His most desperate hours, in the garden alone and even on the cross.


If it was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us, right? So given that we should pray, let me give you good reasons why you ought to pray…




Matthew 26:41 (ESV Strong's)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


Jesus not only commands us to pray, as does Paul, James and others, but Jesus also demonstrates this right throughout His life. If He commands it, and He demonstrates it, I believe the correct response is obedience.




Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent muscle of God… I know this sounds terribly carnal, but prayer opens the door for God’s blessings to flow to us.


James 4:2-3

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.


These verses show a condition of answered prayer… the right motives. If you ask for things you want, God loves you enough to sometimes not to give them to you! Kaileigh loves ice cream, but we don’t give it to her all the time. However, there are many things God wants you to have, and we don’t obtain those because we don’t ask, says James.


“How come I never seem to know God’s will in my life?” You do not have, because you do not ask. “Lord, why am I always just scraping by?” You do not have, because you do not ask.




Let’s face it, we have loads to worry about in our modern life. We worry about relationships, our families, jobs, money, careers, not to mention our country, morals, terrorism, etc. I even worry about the fact I have so much to worry about!


Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV Strong's)

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


So if you want peace, the peace in your heart that transcends all understanding, even in the face of incredible pressure and loss, the solution is to pray!




Romans 8:26 (ESV Strong's)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.


In our weakness, prayer is what begins to change us, with groaning or words beyond our comprehension. Romans later takes about being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and that happens with prayer.


Prayer prepares us for the return of Christ. We are the bride of Christ, and prayer prepares us to be that spotless bride whom He is coming back for. Prayer either changes circumstances, or frequently it changes us! We should not see prayer as an attempt to change God, but rather us.


True praying is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.




As you probably have already figured out, God can answer prayers in a way we are not expecting, or even wanting.


One of the most disturbing aspects of prayer in our modern age is the mistaken idea that if we pray and believe for something hard enough, God has to give it to us, based on…


Mark 11:24 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.


This thinking is dangerous, destructive and wrong! Let me remind you again of this…


James 4:3

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.


Wrongly motivated prayer plus faith does not equal God’s hand being forced. When we ask out of wrong motives, for personal gain or personal glory, we won’t change God no matter how much faith we think we can muster. I have seen churches enter financially crippling investments because the more conservative people were told they lacked faith. That’s why any expansion here at Ignite must be of God, not man.


I’m sick of hearing people name it and claim it, blab it and grab it, thinking that if they are just passionate enough and can summon enough faith, God will give them what they want. This must not be! No, we need to seek the Lord, discover His will and then pray in faith for His will, even if it is not our first choice. And here’s the kicker… if you do that, all of a sudden He blesses you no end!


Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong's)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


Here is a simple guideline to keep in mind when you are waiting for your prayers to be answered:


If the request is wrong, God says, “No.”

If the timing is wrong, God says, “Slow.”

If you are wrong, God says, “Grow.”

But if the request is right, the timing is right, and you are right, God says, “Go!”


How can you see more “Go” answers in your prayer life? Let’s look at the model Jesus gave us.




Luke 11:1-4 (KJV) Because that is what we all know it in.


One of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.


Jesus is not suggesting magical power in the “by rote” prayer people have made this out to be. You face danger or disaster, and you start to mouth the words, “Our Father, which art in heaven.” Rather this is a model, a blueprint of how we should pray, and we would do well to study and understand it!




I heard of a child praying one time, and he kept calling God Harold, Harold, could you bless my parents, Harold, could you please give me a bike. His parents asked why he was calling God Harold, and he quoted the Lord’s Prayer, Harold be thy name! But it is hallowed, or exalted!


Psalms 147:4-5 (ESV Strong's)

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.


God is infinite, He is all present, all knowing and all powerful. Many times the modern church has demoted God to a servant, ready to do our bidding, there if we need Him in times of trouble. I refuse to worship a puny, man made, man serving imitation, I choose to worship the awe inspiring God of the Bible!


Before we utter a word of personal petition, we must first consider who it is we are speaking to. He is the Almighty God and yet He is also our Heavenly Father. So we begin our prayer with worship, adoration, and acceptance of His will.





In His darkest hour, Jesus of course prayed


Mark 14:36 (ESV Strong's)

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”


News flash… prayer is not the way you can manipulate God to do what you want. You can claim what you want with boldness all you like, but it’s not your will it’s His that matters!  We need to stop giving God orders and expecting Him to move when and where we want. We need to start praying, “Your will be done!”


It has been said that Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.


Remember the story of the farmer in the great flood. The flood rose to cover the road and a guy cake by in a 4 wheel drive saying hop in, but the man said, “Nope, I am believing the Lord to be saved.” Waters rose up into the house and along came a rescuer in a boat saying climb in… but he said “Nope, I am believing the Lord to be saved.”  In the end He is standing on the roof, all around is flood waters and a helicopter lowers a ladder a begs him to climb up… but he said, “Nope, I am believing the Lord to be saved.”


The waters rose and he was killed. Up in heaven he asked, Lord why didn’t you save me, and the Lord said, “Well, I sent a 4 wheel drive, a boat and a helicopter…”


Mature prayer doesn’t tell God what to do. It doesn’t dictate terms or try and negotiate a favourable settlement in your favour! It says, show me your will. Not mine but thine be done!


Psalms 143:10 (ESV Strong's)

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!




God is all knowing, so He knows what you need. But He loves it when you ask, and especially when you ask in faith, believing He will never let you down.  Listen to what Jesus said…


Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


Ask, yes. Trust, yes, but above all seek Him, seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and you get the lot. Everything you need, everything you want, because when you seek Him first, what you want more than anything is aligned with what He wants for you.




1 John 1:9 (ESV Strong's)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Forgiveness is an essential part of prayer, because if you do not confess your sin and seek forgiveness, there is a major blockage in your prayer life.


In fact, God treats this so seriously that  Psalmist says that, had he cherished sin in his life, the Lord simply would not have listened.


Psalms 66:18-19 (ESV Strong's)

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.


Do you want the Lord to listen? Of course! Then we must seek forgiveness and when we do it opens the floodgates of blessing.


Sin confessed, forgiveness sought, hang on to nothing longer than you ought!

When you confess your sin, the Lord promises to forgive you, whether it is big or small, whether it is affecting others or done in secret. Corrie Ten Boom says that when God forgives a sin, He throws it in the sea of His forgetfulness, and puts up a sign saying “No Fishing.”


So if God forgives you, what right do you have to not forgive yourself. Come to a Him with clean hands and clean heart and watch what He will drop into them.




Now the hard bit, we have to forgive others. I have seen even mature Christians struggle to forgive others. They hang onto it, believing that they have been wronged, and when they do it ruins their prayer life.


This is so serious that the very next verses after the Lord’s Prayer are these…


Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


How dare we withhold forgiveness when this clearly blocks God forgiving us! If you hold unforgiveness in your heart, not only does it destroy you (it is like drinking poison hoping the other guy dies) but it ruins your life and your prayers become futile. Do you want to feel right, or do you want to be set free? Don’t hold onto unforgiveness. Don’t cover up your sin, confess it, and let God cover it over with a His forgiveness and love!




Temptation is a part of life, but we are instructed to pray that we may not be led into it. Temptation is not sin, but it becomes so when you give in to it.  We have a great tendency to rationalise temptation, to explain it away or flirt with it, but we need to get serious with dealing with it.


1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV Strong's)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


You can stand up under it, but you are better to flee from it. You are better to guard your heart and not even flirt with it, or as Jesus Himself instructs us,


Matthew 26:41 (ESV Strong's)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


Truly, we are weak when it comes to temptation, but God knows so well that if we give into temptation it will destroy our prayer connection with Him. So He tells us to pray against it specifically!


When we do, s the next part of the Lord’s Prayer says, He delivers us from evil!




When it comes to answered prayer, many times it is not that we lack ability, it’s that we lack stickability! We pray, then we give up, but God calls us to persist in prayer. Keep praying until you get an answer, whether that be the answer you want or not.


Colossians 4:2 (ESV Strong's)

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.


The Greek for continue steadfastly is proskartereō, which means persevere, be earnest towards, be constantly diligent in prayer. Couple this with the parable of the persistent widow, and you’ll realise that God wants you to keep asking, keep believing and keep seeking Him. As He says,


Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV Strong's)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.


When I pray, I make it my practice to keep praying and keep believing until God tells me otherwise.  Praying for healing, I keep praying until either God heals the disease or He shows me He has something different in mind. I don’t pray and then give God an “out” just in case He can’t manage to do it.


I believe in Him and trust Him for all results, whether it is what I want or not, because my prayers must never be about my will, but God’s will in my life.




Let me also add that we need to be careful about what we are praying about. So often we pray for the symptoms, not the cause. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was cutting down some trees that were hanging low and touching the cars as we drove in and out. I could cut near the end, solve the immediate problem, but have to do it all again a month later. Or I could cut further back towards the trunk and solve the problem for a year.


With prayer we most often pray about the symptoms, not the actual cause, because the cause is often hidden from us. But listen to this..


Ephesians 6:12 (ESV Strong's)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.


 Think about it. Perhaps we should recognise that we don’t pray against people, diseases or circumstances, but the spiritual forces behind these things.


We should be praying for our nation and morality, but not against the people so vehemently attacking us. Let’s pray against the spirit of the age that is behind it all, and pray that we may be vigilant not passive and limp in response. Let’s attack the root cause in our prayers, not just the low hanging branches!



So the first step in spiritual success is to read the Word of God daily. The second is to pray with power constantly, and to do this you need to stay close to God. You need to seek Him, you need to avoid temptation and you need to be in constant communication with Him.  That’s what a truly powerful prayer life is.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV Strong's)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


How can you pray without ceasing? Must you spend the entire day on your knees with eyes closed?


You can try this if you wish, but most of the rest of us have to live in the real world. I believe when the Bible says pray without ceasing it means that you can live, all day every day, in the zone of constant communication with God. Speak to Him, and constant

Y have your spiritual heart open to let Him speak into your heart. In others words, live in the zone of constant connection to Him.


So whatever you face, whatever life brings along, like Nehemiah did so long ago, just constantly pause, shoot up a quick prayer and then be aware of the Lord’s leading and guiding. You might meet someone, and as you shake hands pray, “Lord, what can I say to bless this person.” If you face a volatile situation, pray, “Lord, please give me the right words to calm this and bring about unity.” If we lived in this zone we would the minimise explosive conflict many of us seem to live with.




I believe the Lord is challenging us today to clear out the sin in our lives and stay connected to Him, all day every day. Can you trust Him? When you pray, can you honestly trust Him for the results, even if they are not what you desire? That’s true faith if you can.


Stay close to God, or as Jesus puts it, abide in me!


A grandfather was walking past his young granddaughter’s room one night when he saw her kneeling beside her bed, with head bowed and hands folded, repeating the alphabet.
“What are you doing?” he asked her.
She explained, “I’m saying my prayers, but I couldn’t think of just what I wanted to say. So I’m just saying all the letters of the alphabet, and God can put them together however he thinks best.”
Maybe some of the rest of us should have that kind of faith.
As “His Prayer” puts it, “THY will be done.”


Psalms 139:23-24 (ESV Strong's)

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!


Spiritual Success 2- Steps to Spiritual Success

February 28, 2018

 "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." 

-- Colin Powell


Spiritual success is something we all want, but strangely it seems to elude most of us. I have discovered some massive secrets to attaining spiritual success, and over the next few weeks I want to share them with you.


Last week we agreed that the world’s measure of success is different to God’s. Spiritual success is independent of money, fame or prestige.


Why is it that some people come to Christ and grow like crazy, while others have been Christians for years or even decades and seem to have barely grown at all? Why do some seem to do lots of incredible things for the Lord while others spend years sitting in a pew doing and being involved in very little?




Why does it seem Christianity works for some people but not others? I’ve had many people say to me, “Tried Christianity, and it didn’t work for me.” Listen, Christianity is not a product, and we are not just consumers.  Christianity is a person, and every, and I mean every, single person who truly invests in Christ will find He will work for them. The thing is, we concentrate more of what we can get from church than what we can give. We tend not to invest, we tend to consume!


To achieve spiritual success, the first requirement is that you choose to invest in it!


Deuteronomy 30:19

(ESV) I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,


You may be visiting Church today, or you may be a regular attender, but if you know me at all as a pastor, I want to see you grow strong and powerful in the Lord. I’ve asked God for a church of leaders. My passion is to see you became all you could possibly be in the Lord. But to do this, we have to start somewhere.


Some of you may be content to just float along and never achieve any spiritual success, but I believe most of you want to achieve something great for God, right? Wouldn’t you love to know that you’ve brought people to Jesus, spoken into people’s lives and seen amazing change, prayed and seen God move mountains?


Age doesn’t hold you back, education isn’t stopping you. Where you live, how you speak, none of that is holding you back from spiritual greatness. All that is required for your breakthrough to become a spiritual giant is your making the choice to pursue God, and following through to actually do it!




We live in an instant society. More than ever before, we want everything right away, no delays, no waiting. Open up the internet and you will read about how you can make $10,461 in7 days or less doing basically nothing! On TV you see how you can stand on a vibrating board and lose 10kg while you watch TV. I heard they just invented a microwave TV, so you can watch 60 Minutes in just 2 Minutes! In 21st century Australia, we want a pill or magic bullet to solve every problem.


Remember once upon a time we used to write a letter, fold it up, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it , go to the post office and mail it, and some days later your friend would get the letter, open it and finally read it? Today we call that “snail mail”.


Then came the fax, which could send said letter down a phone line in maybe 2 Minutes. But that wasn’t fast enough, so we got email, which send said letter in seconds. But even now that’s not fast enough (and a fax seems like a dinosaur), now we have instant messaging, where we can send said letter in real time and get an instant reply!


No success in life is achieved without discipline. In sport, business, ministry and even family, if we are to be truly successful, it takes effort and discipline. And so it is spiritually.


We always want the fast, easy, no nonsense way to achieve success. But to know spiritual success as a follower of Jesus Christ, there are some things that need to be part of your life on a regular, and yes even daily, basis. These are nonnegotiable. They are not optional, not for some and not for others. They are for everyone. They are the disciplines of the Christian life, and yes, they take, time and effort. Yet within the spiritual realm, they are the fast track to spiritual success.





Mark 4:5-8

And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”


Jesus goes on to explain the metaphors later in the chapter. The first seed is people who hear about Jesus and the devil snatches it away, and they never make a commitment to Christ. The second accept Christ, but it is a shallow, possibly emotional response. As soon as things get tough, they turn away, often saying things like, “Tried Christianity, but it doesn’t t work.”


The third is where so many believers are today… The Word grows in them, but gets choked out by life, pressures, the drive to succeed in a worldly way. How does this happen? It starts when Christians ignore the basics of the faith. They let their discipline go, and stop praying, stop reading the Word and stop attending church, or simply attend but never commit to anything.


The forth seed is shown into good ground, and it is fruitful, yielding far in excess of what was shown, 30, 60 and 100 fold. Does it magically produce this? Nope, the Lord bestows the growth. And what is the main difference between the third and forth seed? Effort, discipline, the pulling of weeds!


I’m not much of a gardener. I don’t invest enough time into my garden. I’ve grown some plants and some trees, but if I neglect my garden, I grow a whole stack of weeds without even trying!


And that’s the thing… if you do not get serious about your walk with the Lord, you will grow fruit by default, but it will mostly be weeds. Do you want to be fruitful or weedy in your life?




If you want to become a big fat zero for Christ, if you are happy and content with all of your life, if you can’t really be bothered stepping out in faith, just stay where you are. You’re welcome to fellowship here, come and sit and get what you want to get you through the next week.  Next year, more of the same. Year after that, same old same old.


But I believe most of you have higher aspirations than that. You want to grow and achieve spiritual success in your life, and you want God to use you in an amazing way to impact and change the world, right? If that is you, then it all starts here… it all starts with personal discipline, and God’s Word…


2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV Strong's)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,


The Bible is God’s directions for life. Like any man, I have trouble reading directions. I usually try and fix something or assemble something, and if I run into difficulties, I finally read directions. But honestly, some directions these days are ridiculous… take these for example…


On packaging for an iron: Do not iron clothes while on body.

On Children's Cough Medicine: Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.

On a child's Superman costume: Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.

On a bottle of laundry detergent: Remove clothing before distributing in washing machine.

On a muffin packet: Remove wrapper, open mouth, insert muffin, eat.

On a can of air freshener: For use by trained personnel only.

On a toilet cleaning brush: Do not use orally.

On a can of Spray paint: Do not spray in your face.

On a blowtorch: Not used for drying hair.

On a box of fireworks: Do not put in mouth.

On a Swedish chain saw: Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals.

In a microwave oven manual: Do not use for drying pets.

On a Japanese food processor: Not to be used for the other use.


The directions given by God are to be obeyed for maximum results. So how do you do this?




Reading the Bible is fine, but God’s Word is not like some novel. It is God’s instruction manual for life, and if we are wise we will not just read but study it. You can do this anywhere, any time. You could join a connect group and study with others.


Ezra 7:10 (ESV Strong's)

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.


The thing is, the Bible is not just a book, it’s life in the Spirit. This book is not passive, it is active. There are thousands of testimonies of people who opened a bible in their hour of need and God spoke to the, through it. And this same Scripture can speak to you if you listen…


Hebrews 4:12 (ESV Strong's)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.




We all want the fast, easy track to spiritual greatness and success, so here it is… read the Bible every day! Wait a minute, that’s not so easy! Well, it’s a lot easier that spending years wasting your life, isn’t it?


Matthew 4:4 (ESV Strong's)

But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”


Let me ask you, how often do you eat? Do you eat once a week? Once a month maybe? No, you eat every day, often several times a day. In the same way, nothing substitutes reading the Word of God every day. Nothing. If you want to be spiritually successful, this is the fast track! As you eat every day to live, so you need to eat of God’s Word daily to live and be successful spirituality.


That’s why God sent manna in Exodus 16 and it was to be consumed daily. Ever wonder why He did that? So that the people learned to live daily on the provision of the Lord. It wasn’t enough to save up old experiences, He wanted them to experience Him and His love every day.


Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV Strong's)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.


I was talking to someone in our church last week who told me that God is speaking every day to her from her daily readings. This really works folks, so if you’re not reading the Word every day, you are missing out!





Joshua 1:8 (ESV Strong's)

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.


Successful? God says you need to meditate, or think about His Word day and night to be successful. So we do not just read it and put it down, we think back on it every day. Our team that went to the Philippines often discussed what the daily bible passage was all day, and that’s meditating. Like a cow with multiple stomachs we regurgitate and chew over what we have eaten again and again.


Then what happens is that in many situations of life you face, the Word of God hidden in your heart pops out and is exactly what you need at the time.


Psalms 119:9-11 (ESV Strong's)

 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.


As you think about and even memorise the Word of God, you will be amazed at how often these verses spring to mind, just when you need it. Try it, I challenge you to try it. It really is true!




We do not read just to tick off a box on the Bible reading plan. We do not read out of interest or curiosity or to gain knowledge. We read to live, and to live God’s Word means obedience!


James 1:21-25 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.


If you want to be a spiritual success, obedience is mandatory. As I said last week, why should God roll out His perfect plan for your life if you want even obey step 1?  So many Christians cry out for God to lead and guide them, yet when He reveals what they need to do, they don’t even obey!


If you’re not being obedient, don’t expect God to lead you, it’s that simple!  And if you’re not reading God Word, how can you expect Him to lead you anyway! When the Psalmist writes,


Psalms 119:105 (ESV Strong's)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.


He is working on the assumption that you read the word and let it shine.




Let me give you 3 words that will give you the spiritual success I hope you are craving… READ YOUR BIBLE


Psalms 19:7-8 (ESV Strong's)

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving (Gk: transforming) the soul;

the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;


If you are someone who is not really interested in changing or being transformed, then you probably aren’t interested in the Bible or in spiritual success. The Word of God is for people who have some sense of desperation about where they are in life. It is for people who don’t have the purpose in their lives they wish they had. It is for those who aren’t content to be controlled by their passions, who don’t want to be victims of circumstance, and who want their relationships with those they love to become even better.


The Bible is for people who want direction in life, who want to know how to live, and who want to go to heaven. It is for people who want to know God. The Bible is for people who don’t have all the answers and want something better. It’s for those who want to change the world around them for God.




Honestly, if you say you’re serious about your relationship with God, if you say you’re serious about changing and about impact the world for Jesus, then daily Bible reading isn’t just desirable, it is mandatory! 


That’s why I wrote the Bible Reading program. If you’re not reading the Bible daily, come and join us in this reading plan. It covers the whole Bible only reading 2 chapters a day, usually less than 7 Minutes. The plan has all of the highlights of the Bible without the less exciting bits, and if you follow it it will transform your life!


People complain that they have no time to read the Bible. Well, turn off TV, there’s a couple of hours, get off Facebook, there’s another hour or two, or ten! You make time for what is important, and if you show God that His Word is important, you will see results.


And if you’re really desperate… put the Bible on your phone and when you go to the toilet, sit and read. The Lord will not be turned off by the smell, trust me!


If you don’t read much, download the Gideon’s Bible app. It’s free, and you can do the entire ESV Bible as audio.


I use to have a computer with very limited hard drive space. When I tried to add a program, a little message would pop up saying, “No more memory available,” and before I could load the program I would have to remove some other program.


Wouldn’t it be great if, when the devil comes with his temptations to attack your life, a little sign appeared saying “Memory full. Heart and mind are filled to capacity with the things of God.”

That’s why I am so pumped about you reading God’s Word daily! Not because I’m sadistic, not because I want to clutter or control your life. I tell you this because I want to protect and empower you, and fill your hard drive with God things. As Philippians says,


Philippians 4:8 (ESV Strong's)

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely,


After all, the best defense is a good offense. So instead of being open and vulnerable to the attacks of the devil through our minds, let’s fill our minds with thoughts of God, thoughts of heaven, and meditation on His life-changing Word.


We need to commit ourselves to reading His Word, then patiently wait for the harvest that it surely will bring…


James 5:7-8 (ESV Strong's)

7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.


Christian, I’m sorry but there is no excuse for us.  Either we get serious about reading God’s Word, or explain to Him why we cannot be bothered. I love You, Lord, I desire You with all my heart, but don’t ask me to put any effort into the relationship.


Actually, try this excuse with your wife or husband and see what type of response you get.


Today’s challenge is this… will you commit to reading God’s Word every day for the next month?


Unity in the Home

February 19, 2018

Unity in the Home is something we all want, yet even among Christian couples, it is rare! 



This week we celebrated Valentines Day, and so I did some research into what this day is all about. The original Valentine was a Roman priest who defied an edict from Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor felt marriage was stopping his recruitment drive for his army, so he banned marriage, and Valentine continued to marry couples in secret.


When exposed he was captured, beaten and imprisoned, and while awaiting execution, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, to whom he wrote many love notes. On February 14, 270AD He was executed, having signed off his last note, Your Valentine.  He gave his life for love and his belief in Christ, but he never wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue.”


So today I had something else lined up to speak on, but I have felt the Lord strongly working on me to change the topic and speak not about Romantic love but about unity in the family, especially between husband and wife.


Please understand, I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, but I sense I need to address the elephant in the room. We don’t talk about this often, and no one really knows what is happening behind closed doors at your house, but this is something we must not ignore.  Probably the easiest way for the devil to destroy Ignite Christian Church and negate any effect we can have on the world for Christ is to destroy our families. And you know what it’s like… you might have had a fight last night, you might have thrown plates, said things you didn’t mean or screamed at the kids, but on Sunday we all paint on happy faces and turn up to Church.  Don’t look so pious, we have all done it sometime, right?




I believe that today, more than ever before we are seeing an attack on the home and families. Values long held across all of society by all peoples in all cultures have been sacrificed to appease a tiny minority.


Maybe the same sex marriage laws don’t affect you directly, maybe the so called safer schools directives don’t concern you directly, but these and many other forces from parliament to divorce courts to songs to movies to Mardi Gras have chipped away at the family. Even in church our people are affected, our families are under threat like never before, and the divorce rate among Christians is as high as that among the world!


The Lord has been showing me how unbelievably disruptive disunity is, within the church and within your family…


Psalms 133:1,3 (ESV Strong's)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.


I believe that God doesn’t just suggest unity because it’s a good idea, or so you can get some peace and quiet. God crowns unity among people with the command of His blessing, life forevermore. If you want blessing in our church, be in unity. If you want blessing in your home and marriage, be in unity! Unity breeds blessing, just as disunity destroys it!


Many of you have lived through relationship disunity in the past. Many have experienced divorce or separation, all of us have had a broken heart or two. Many are living this disunity right now, sometimes openly and sometimes behind closed doors. Unity will command God’s blessing, but disunity will kill a church, a business, a football team, a band, a club and especially a family.


Satan loves attacking families because the results are high for him. He can take a small issue in your home, like putting out the garbage, what to buy or not buy, squeezing the toothpaste in the wrong spot or controlling the TV remote, and turn it into a mountain of misery for all concerned.


At Ignite we have tremendous unity, from the leadership right down. But this week the Lord spoke to me and said, hidden away below the surface there is disunity, not just between church members but within many families on a scale that would shock us if we actually knew. 


Behind the Valentine Day façade, the flowers and chocolates, behind the happy family approach to Church I know that some of us here are hurting like crazy, and there is conflict bubbling away in our marriages and homes. Husband against wife, wife against husband, mother against daughter, father against son, brother against sister.


I know you come to church to feel better, not for the pastor to make you feel uncomfortable or horrible.  For some of us, myself included, this is going to hurt a little bit, but the end result will be greater unity and a blessings that is off the charts! I cannot  not begin to solve every individual marriage problem or relationship difficulty in one sermon. But if the Lord has challenged me to speak on this, something we usually hush up when we come to church, then I want to be obedient.


Let me confess to you that I am not a perfect husband. I don’t give Fiona nearly enough love, barely enough money and never enough time. I make decisions without her, I’m selfish, way too focussed and isolate myself at times. But I love her and believe that, as I yield to the Lord and let Him shape my life, we will see unity and great blessing in our home.




Let’s start by saying this…we are all different. Men are different to women, kids are different to parents. We think differently, we speak differently and we act differently.


When a man speaks he is direct… I speak, you listen, you speak, I listen. But a woman can be speaking and hear every other conversation in the room!


Men have this area of the brain called autopilot, and while they are looking at you speaking and appear to be listening, they are really thinking about the football score. Women can turn on the waterworks and cry, but men tend to stonewall, simmering in silence.


Men live in the now, often disregarding the consequences. Women live in multiple time zones, and everything you’ve every done in your relationship is carefully catalogued to be recalled when it is needed to win an argument.


What about kids?  I mean, what’s the difference between a 2 year old and a terrorist? You can reason with a terrorist.  I heard an eminent psychologist this week explain that there is actually very little difference between the behaviour of the average teenager and a psychopath. They sited lack of empathy for others,  wanting their own way and defiance, in fact pretty much all the character traits of psychopaths bar killing small animals.




Jesus said this…


Mark 3:24-25 (ESV Strong's)

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.


So how does a house, any house such as a church or your home, become divided?  Usually it starts with a difference of opinion, maybe on finances, maybe about disciplining kids, but it then escalates beyond proportion and beyond our control. Here are some of the steps to dividing your house, and Jesus says it will not stand…




Disunity starts with a difference of opinion.  And let’s face it, we all disagree at some time. My wife often disagrees with me, and it upsets me that she can be wrong so often!


One of the great plots of the evil one right now is to allow everybody to think that their opinion is actually important! Look at Facebook. Never before has so much ranting been done so excessively by so many with so little point. Years ago we felt like the little guys had no voice, but today it’s like every idiot with a smartphone can voice the most ridiculous ideas, anytime, anywhere. Opinions are like noses… everyone has one, and most of them smell!


So division, whether in church, business or your family, starts with a difference of opinion. It is not wrong to disagree or have an opposing opinion to your spouse, your child, friend or the pastor. It’s how we express this difference of opinion that makes all the difference!


Proverbs 18:2 (ESV Strong's)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.




Once during an argument my wife said, “When we argue, you always think you’re right…” I replied that that was true, because if I thought I was wrong I wouldn’t take up a contrary position.


We all want to be right, all the time. We all think we are right, most of the time.




While we want to be right, it should be more important that we love one another.


John 13:34 (ESV Strong's)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.


Whenever there is any conflict in the home, and it is inevitable there will be some, unless you live by yourself, and even then you might fight with yourself. When there is conflict or a difference of opinion, you face a choice… do you fight for what you believe is right, or do you show love and grace towards the other party.


Now you can love someone and disagree with them, so I am not asking you to become a doormat for love. However, as I often say in the church, you can disagree as long as you agree to disagree agreeably.


Disunity occurs when we choose that we want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. When Paul writes about lawsuits between believers he says this…


1 Corinthians 6:7 (ESV Strong's)

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?


In your home, in your marriage, in your relationships with kids and parents, why take offence? I’m not saying you should become a doormat, but many times we love being right more than we love the other party. I can believe I am right, but still treat you with respect and love if I choose to do so.


However, what often happens is that one party stands their ground and insists on being right while the other capitulates and gives in every time. If both of you love each other more than the argument unity is achievable.





So many of us react rather than respond. When we don’t like things, when we have a disagreement, when we feel hurt or overlooked or persecuted, we often tend to have a knee jerk reaction (which could be shortened to a jerk reaction, as in being a jerk!)


The knee jerk response is a measurement by doctors of our traction time. It involves a nervous reflex which does not involve the brain, so you make this reaction without conscious thought.


As a general rule, when you feel offended, the first reaction is usually neither productive nor the one you want. If, every time you faced conflict, you came apart for half an hour before responding, you would find that both sides will tend to make a more rational, more controlled and more balanced approach.


If you respond rather react you will preserve unity far better than if you explode as soon as you’re offended or not happy. Works with the kids, the wife, the dog, the boss and the pastor!


Proverbs 19:11 (ESV Strong's)

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence.





And here is the clincher for ruining unity in your home. If you want to ruin your family, ruin your church or anything else, never let go of offence. Jesus instructs us…


Luke 17:3-4 (ESV Strong's)

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”


Why should you forgive them so many times? Does Jesus care if you’re right? I mean, I some men say, married a woman I knew that for me was Miss right, I just didn’t realise her first name was always!


Jesus commands you to forgive the other’s offence because if you don’t do this, it hurts you far more than it hurts them! It’s like you drinking poison hoping the other guy dies.


I have branches of my extended family who haven’t spoken to each other for years. I know of Christians who have been to church every week with people that they haven’t spoken to for years. Holding onto offence never ends well. If you have long term issues with your spouse or kids, pray, swallow your need to be right no matter what and forgive them. Forgiveness creates unity.


Paul’s advice is this…

Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV Strong's)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.


You may not be able to settle every argument on the day, although it is a good things to aim at, but what Paul says is don’t hold onto it. The longer you remain angry, the more damage you will do, to your relationship and also to yourself. You are better off giving it to the Lord and letting Him sort it than hanging on, feeling self justified but miserable and alienated.


6.      GOING COLD


If you choose to hold onto offence long enough, something within you and your relationship can die.


Jesus said to the church at Ephesus


Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV Strong's)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.


The church at Ephesus were doing all the right things, looked pious and godly on the surface, but had lost that first love, that sense of wonder that we all have when we fall in love.


So, husbands and wives, do not forsake your first love. When you have conflict or disharmony, it is tempting to focus on the disharmony, but most often the current issue is never the real issue. We tend to sweep it up and shovel it under the bed, then gloss it over and come to church.  But I would urge you to look back and regain your first love. I am not talking about gooey feelings here, but the commitment you once had.


When you first stood before the altar and said your wedding vows, remember that. When you first held that little baby in your arms, the same one who has grown up and you’re now fighting with, remember that first love.


Going cold towards the other person, giving them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment does not solve the problem.  You need honest, open and frank discussion, without threats, screaming or cursing. If you have a conflict with your kids, sit them down and talk about it. If it’s between spouses, find a time to sit with a coffee and share openly and honestly.




The fact is, if you are struggling in your marriage or family relationships you are not the only ones. This is happening right across society and I believe especially in the church. The enemy is attacking. The best way to destroy the ministry of a church is to destroy the families within it. You may not feel that your family is being destroyed, but many including myself are starting to feel the pressure.


Fiona and I are going away camping this week because, when we  are here, we are so busy we often get zero time together. Two workaholics need to be careful, and take steps to improve their relationship! So what practical steps can you take if you feel the enemy is attacking your family?




Psalms 57:1 (ESV Strong's)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.


Your Heavenly Father longs to protect you. As we sang, He longs to hide you in the shadow of His wings. The first thing you should do is pray for the blood of Jesus to cover your family, and then the enemy will have no choice but to Passover your family, just as the Israelites experienced in the 10th plague.


Praying together as a family also can help, although if kids or spouses are not Christians, this is obviously not always an option. Remember, the family that prays together stays together!




James 4:7-8 (ESV Strong's)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.


Get into your daily quiet times, listen to podcasts and sermons, read Christian books. If you do everything you can to draw close to God He promises to draw near to you, and many times you will draw closer to each other as a result.




If you have issues with your family members, pray don’t say!


James 3:5 (ESV Strong's)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!


How many of us have created havoc by the rash words we have spoken in anger? How many times have we, in anger or frustration, said things we regret?


Bill Newman tells of a woman who had been saying horrible things about the pastor. She felt convicted and apologised to the pastor, but he had a strange request… go to the local mountain, cut open a pillow and throw all of the feathers to the wind. She did this, and then the pastor said one more thing… could you go and pick them all up please?


Proverbs 18:21 (ESV Strong's)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.


Watch what you say, speak life not death to your family, and also watch how you say it! Eg: I’m sorry I love you





If the situation is explosive, it’s great to back off and take the time to respond appropriately. This doesn’t mean the silent treatment for days, weeks, months or years. To resolve anything, you will need to talk, and talk honestly and openly.  So guys in particular, don’t run and hide in the shed… make time, schedule time in my case, to talk.


A couple in counselling… the woman complains “He never tells me he loves me.” The man replies, “I told you when we got married, and if I ever change my mind I will let you know!”


Learn to speak, even if it is not your way, and learn to speak words that build up, not pull down.


Ephesians 4:29 (ESV Strong's)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.




Look, I know we all, myself included, have said a lot of rough things to those we love, our wives, husbands, kids, brothers and sister, especially when we are under pressure. You cannot take them back, but you can apologise.


And changes in your family and relationships start with a decision, a commitment if you will. You can fall in love again, you can have the relationships you want, but you have to decide to do it. Remember, the devil is out to bring you down, and the little foxes spoil the vines… those little irritations, neglected and glossed over, cause major breakups and destroy marriages time and time again.


So I’m going to ask you to be honest right now. Is there pressure on your marriage, on your relationships with kids, grandkids, siblings or even church family that aren’t ideal? Have you exploded, ignored or withdrawn in the most important relationships you have.


Valentine’s Day this week was all about love. But love is commitment, and commitment requires a choice. Ideally you both commit to each other, but if the other party is too angry or withdrawn, will you be the bigger one and make the choice?


Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong's)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,


Satan is attacking our families, but we won’t stand for it! We don’t want to lose one marriage, one family, one child, we want to be fully committed to each other and to the Lord’s service.


If you have tension, undue pressure on your home, your marriage or your relationship with your kids stand up.


Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV Strong's)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


Unity begets blessing, so if you want your marriage and family blessed, come forward.


Success 1- How to Achieve Success in Life

February 12, 2018

Every single one of us wants to be successful in life. No one starts out life with the dream of becoming a failure. You ask a child what they want to become in their life, they says things like, “I want to be a fireman, a doctor, a pastor, a mother.” No child wants to become a drug addict, a wino, a homeless vagabond or a criminal.


So where do we go wrong as we grow, and how can we achieve lasting success. And by lasting, I mean eternal, not something that blossoms for a few years here in earth then fades to nothing in eternity?




What does success look like to you? It looks different for many people, depending on what they themselves are into. Success for a footballer might be playing for their country or winning a premiership, while success for a musician is having a hit record. A painter wants to sell a painting for megabucks, while a businessman sees success as making money or climbing the corporate ladder.


So what constitutes success for you? Is it having a nice house it? Is it being famous or being praised by your peers? Is it finding the right wife or husband? What does success look like, and what do you actually pray for?


Genesis 24:12 (ESV Strong's)

And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.


Now many people have prayed for success in finding a life partner… some may be doing that right now! But many of us have prayed for success in exams, sports, business or other things in life. We tend tell God what we want to have happen and pray for success, for Him to crown our efforts and bless us with success.




As Christians we often have a confused view of what true success actually is. When surrounded by other people constantly pushing to succeed, people of faith often struggle with the place and pursuit of success. The world tells us what success should look like, but for believers we have a vague notion that this isn’t real success and that God has a better plan, right?


Some believe material success always represents a compromise of spiritual convictions. Others feel success signals that God is pleased with them. I believe that neither of these extremes are necessarily true.


Still other Christians say they are not interested in success, and many use their lack of striving for success as  an excuse for poor performance in key areas of life. If we cease to strive for success, we often satisfy ourselves with a second rate performance.


The issue is not whether we as believers should strive for success, because every one of us would agree that God deserves our best, but the real issue revolves around the question of what success really is.


The issue of success is complex and charged with emotion. But these observations may prove helpful:





True success is defined by God, not by man and what people tell us constitutes success.  We often pray for God to prosper us, and it is His desire to prosper us to success as defined by Him.


3 John 1:2 (ESV Strong's)

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.


3 John 1:2 (KJV)

Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.


So God wants us to prosper, in health and every way, but above all He wants our souls to prosper, clearly a different measure of success than the world offers!


Worldly success, the success that we are constantly told to strive for, implies striving to meet a set of standards established by a person or group. Those standards may be false or true, but I would suggest that they do not constitute true success. For the Christian, only God can define true success! Consider these people…


Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, Janice Joplin, Heath Ledger, Robin Williams, Amy Winehouse, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ernest Hemingway … so many have achieved incredible success in their field of music, writing or acting, they were famous, they were rich, but found that when they achieved the success for which they strived for,  the result was an emptiness inside, and they took their own lives.


Mark 8:36 (ESV Strong's)

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?





Obtaining success always involves a cost. It requires time, ability, and resources that may have been better invested in other areas. For example working long hours may bring a temporary promotion but you might lose the joy of working, lose your relationship with your spouse or weaken relationships with Christians who keep you joyful and accountable.


What good is it to work hard getting a business off the ground only to find that you lose your family because you are never home?


Then again, sometimes investing long hours in a job may be exactly God’s plan for this particular season and this job. We cannot sit back and hope that success will roll on down the line to us. Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”


So any success takes effort..

 Your job is to invest the effort where it achieves long lasting, eternal and true success.


Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV Strong's)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.


Everything worthwhile costs something. As Gordon Hinkley said, “Without hard work nothing grows but weeds.”


It costs you time and commitment to come to church, to do the Bible reading plan, to attend a connect group, but they are great steps towards success in your relationship with God. Don’t invest time, money and effort in a short term gain… play the long games for eternity!




The pursuit of success is made or denied by each person. No one can make someone else pursue success. You might say you want success in a particular area, but I can’t make you pursue it, only you can.


I have seen Christians pursue all kinds of things, some good, some bad, some important, some just a complete waste of time. So which successes are wise to pursue, and which are foolish to pursue?


Joshua 24:15 (ESV Strong's)

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”


The pursuit of success is a choice… your way, or God’s way?


As we pursue success—and as we choose what success to pursue—we can ask three questions:


  1. Who determines what success means for me? You, your parents, your family, your church… or God?
  2. What am I choosing by pursing this particular success? Am I choosing the eternal or something temporary?
  3. What should I, and should I not, invest to achieve this success?




Luke 5 tells the familiar story of a time where Peter and his fishing partners, James and John, went fishing and caught nothing. This is an interesting story of both failure and success in the life of Peter, a man we can all relate to with real triumphs and also real failures in his life. 


The thing that turned his failure into success is really quite simple. I mean, he had fished all night and caught zip! This is roughly the equivalent of my fishing prowess.  But when Jesus came on board his little boat, things took a dramatic turn.


Jesus gave specific instructions that a somewhat reluctant Peter followed. 


Luke 5:4-7 (ESV Strong's)

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.


Now Peter and the boys had been fishing, they had been doing what was their calling, their skill. They had been striving for success as they understood it, for prosperity in fish. They had chosen what to pursue, you could argue it was their God given mandate as fishermen, and they had certainly toiled and worked hard.



Peter’s problem up to this point, which had caused him to have empty nets, was that he was engaged in undirected service. In other words, God had not told him to do what he was doing, he had just assumed that if he worked hard God would bless his efforts.


But there was no lasting fruit. There were no great results. There was no success, not because he was sinning or out of God’s will.  He was working and getting nowhere, spinning his wheels trying to get success, and the result was that he had toiled all night and caught nothing.


Like Peter, maybe you know what it’s like to try and do something for God, only to end up failing.  Hopefully, the principles we’ll be looking at over the next several weeks will help you discover where you went wrong, and help you to really attain success in the areas that matter.




I must confess, I am pretty dopey at times when it comes to situations like this.  Instead of pausing to reevaluate, I just knuckle down and keep plowing ahead, hoping against hope that things will get better, often finding I dig myself further into the mire rather than out of it! Is anyone else like that? Sometimes I think if brains were dynamite I would struggle to blow my nose!


How often we have begun a work for God that bears no fruit, because we have not really been directed by Him… but we’ve chosen what we think God wants and told Him to bless it? How often we have entered into a business deal or a relationship that is a disaster, because we failed to consult with the Lord. And even then, we don’t ask a Him or pull out, we ignore Him and keep plowing on!


If we are smart, we will learn to fail forward—which means that we will learn from the mistakes we have made and hopefully not make them again.


I’m sure that, looking back on the fishing expedition, Peter could quickly see that while the job he did was not bad or evil, he was outside of the will of God. He was not being directed by God. And when he finally obeyed, when he reluctantly did as God told and directed him, he saw the success he longed for.


And I believe many times in our lives, we miss what God wants to do, because we don’t take the first step. We don’t ask God, we tell God what we want to do and demand He bless us. And if we do ask, we often don’t listen and obey.


Proverbs 16:9 (ESV Strong's)

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.


If you want God to tell you His agenda for your life for the next month or the next year, you’re not going to get it. God establishes our steps one at a time. He wants you to obey Him and take the first step He has already shown you. Why should He roll out His plans for your life when you won’t even obey the first step, or the next step?


Many times we don’t see what it is God wants to do in our lives.  We just say, “I don’t want to do that”, or “thanks God, I can take it from here!” So we end up missing out. God wants to do something great in your life. He wants to do a miracle, He wants to move you into unbelievable success, eternal success in your life, but you have to obey.


If we live our lives God’s way and in God’s timing, our nets will be breaking, just as Peter’s net was, because it is directed service. How often have we wasted days, months, years, or even a lifetime pursuing things that are not the will of God for us.



Success, you see, true, lasting, eternal success, depends on you simply yielding to God, giving your life totally to Him and asking Him onto your boat—or into your life. But it also depends on you being obedient and allowing Him to be in control. There are many choices in life, and many of the choices are good. But you don’t want good choices, you want God choices.  This makes all the difference in the world. Same for the church… we don’t want good choices, we want God choices!




This week I attended the funeral of a lovely young lady called Ruth. She has gone to be with the Lord, and I can tell you there is nothing so sobering as sitting in front of a coffin and contemplating your own mortality. Ruth’s short life of only 32 years was a life well led, and much loved. Likely you will get a lot longer than she had, so what will you do with the time you are given on earth. What will they say on your gravestone with all the years you’ve been given?


Hebrews 9:27 (ESV Strong's)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,


We all, you and I, have an appointment with death. God may call us home in 40 years time, or perhaps much sooner than that. You don’t get another life, you don’t get a rewind button, you cannot unscramble the egg that is your life, your choices, your successes and your failures.


Statisticians tell us that 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, and 11,000 every hour. That means that every day 250,000 people enter into eternity.


So what will they write on your gravestone? Will they write that you were a great businessman, or a great mum? What success will you be remembered by?


More importantly, how does God see your successes and failures? If this is the only life you get on earth, how can you make it a success for eternity, a success in God’s eyes? Someone one said, “Only one life, twill soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.”




So what is the success you strive for in your life? Many people simply don’t strive for any success at all, but are content to just float along, wasting the gifts God has given them. I don’t know about you, but I want more than that! I want to serve Jesus with all of my life, because that is fruit that lasts.


Many people are just treading water in their life. They are merely marking time, instead of enjoying real success in their lives. Their favourite day of the week is “someday.” Someday my ship will come in. Someday my prince (or princess) will come. Someday it’s all going to get better. Someday my life will change. Someday, when I’m financially set up, I will start serving the Lord. In a recent study ninety-four percent of the people surveyed said they were simply enduring the present, while “waiting for something better to happen.”


But here’s what people don’t plan on. They don’t plan on death. And they never envision it coming around the corner unexpectedly. When you’re young you tell yourself, “I don’t have to even think about that for another fifty or sixty years.” And that may true, or it may not be true. But death knocks at every door.


In this series on success, I want to shake us all out of our comfortable existences and open out eyes to the greatness of what God has called us to be, not just for ourselves, but for our families, our church, our community and our nation. I don’t care how successful you are in business, in your job, in the stock market or realestate or bitcoin. That stuff fades, falls, and I want to challenge you today to lift your eyes and focus on the Lord, and do what He calls you to do. I challenge you to take your eyes off worldly success and focus, even strain and strive towards eternal goals, the true success God has for you…


Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV Strong's)

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Most of us are afraid of dying, but many of us are also afraid of living. Afraid of trusting God, afraid that His success may not equate with success that we want. Paul earlier said this…


Philippians 3:7-8 (ESV Strong's)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ


Paul laid all his earthly success aside, the fame, the fortune, the learning, the earning, the prestige… everything, and he saw that true success is what we do for the Lord.


You have one life. You can waste it, you can invest it in something that ultimately doesn’t matter, you can put the nets out and order God to bless your efforts, or you can ask God what He wants to do with your life.


Question: What is the success you are striving for in your life?  Is it what God wants for you? Does it really matter in eternity?


Now give it , whatever it is, to God right now.


Responding to Islam- Kevin Davis

February 6, 2018

Kevin Davis shares an exciting and topical presentation on how we as Christians should be responding to Islam.  He reveals some of the historical background of Islam, and how the Koran points to the person of Jesus Christ.  He encourages us to love and pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters all around the world so that we can make a difference, and he shares exciting and up to date information on how the Spirit is moving among Islamic populations across the world drawing them to Jesus.  Incredibly insightful and topical, and a must for every believer who loves the Lord and wants to see the world won fro Christ!


For Such a Time as This- Melva Kajewski

February 6, 2018

Melva shares her heart and challenges us to stand firm in these dark days.  We live in days that seem darker than ever before, especially with the types of moral decisions our country is making, but Melva suggests that we are here, placed in this nation, for such a time as this!


Traditions- Slaying the Holy Cow

January 22, 2018

A mother was preparing a pot roast for her family’s Easter meal while her young daughter helped. Knowing her daughter was very curious, the mother explained each step. As she was preparing to put the pot roast in the oven, the mother explained, “Now we cut the ends off of each side of the meat.” As young children often do, the daughter asked, “Why?” The mother thought for a moment and replied, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how your grandma did it and that’s how I do it.”

Not satisfied with this answer, the young girl asked if she could call her grandma. The young girl called and asked, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her grandma thought for a moment and said, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how my mom did it and that’s how I do it.”

Still not satisfied, the young girl called her great grandma, who was now living in a nursing home. “Great grandma,” she said, “Why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her great grandma said, “When I was a young mother, we had a very small oven. The pot roast wouldn’t fit in the oven if I didn’t cut the ends off.”

Everyone loves tradition, including me, and including God. God set up many traditions in the Old Testament to remind people of what He had said and done, and Jesus instigated traditions like communion in His day. 


Tradition is all around us. I remember laying a wreath at the Canberra war memorial in honour of my grandfather. They played the last post, we had careful instructions on how to walk, how to place the wreath. It was all very vivid and special to me, and the tradition made it all the more powerful and memorable.


Go to the RSL, support a football club or watch cricket… tradition is all around us and loved by most of us.


In cricket for example, we have just defeated the English in the Ashes series. We compete for a tiny cup within which lie the ashes. This came about after Australia’s first win in a test match in England at the Oval 1882, when a newspaper jokingly lamented the death of English cricket. The mock obituary stated that English cricket had died, and "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". They burned the bails, put them in a tiny container, and that is what Aussie and English cricketers have competed over for more than 130 years!


So much tradition in sport, in parliament, law courts, schools, in families and especially in the Church! People love tradition, it brings them together, it feeds nostalgia.  People talk about the good old days, do you remember them? I don’t think they were that good, but we always remember the good bits, not the bad.


Tradition is definitely a part of church life, but increasingly those who oppose God sometimes want the traditions, without the God.


Fiona’s brother and his wife just had something recently called a naming ceremony, which honestly is a baby dedication in every way without having God! Same sex marriage is the same. Gay couples had all the legal rights of union, but strangely they want to have an actual wedding and be called married. Why? Because people love traditions. Traditions bring stability, strength and honour.





Tradition is one of the holy cows of all religions, including Christianity. We gain strength and solidarity in traditions, but even in the Church today, much of what we do is not Biblical it is tradition.


Please do not misunderstand… I am not against tradition, I love it! Many of our traditions are good, and positive, but sometimes tradition grows in importance and actually eclipses what God says! We must make a clear distinction between what we do in the name of tradition and what we do in obedience to Christ.


Jesus met the issue of traditional religion head on in Mark 7, where a special delegation of legal experts came to challenge Jesus. They challenged Jesus because His disciples seemed to be breaking the time honoured rules of the Sabbath and ritual cleaning


Mark 7:5-9 (ESV Strong's)

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!




The issue in question here was not Scripture, but what was known as the tradition of the elders. These were rules created by Jewish leaders and were human traditions which often superseded God’s revealed Word.


So what did these rules involve, and what effect did they have? Let me offer a few samples…


The Mishnah, a compilation of Jewish oral laws made at the end of the second century A.D., says, "Tradition is a fence around the law." Tradition, as the Jews saw it, protected God's Holy Word and assisted God’s people in keeping it.


This fencing of the Law probably began well enough, but as the years passed it produced some famous absurdities. For example, in an effort to protect the Sabbath from being broken through inadvertent labor, the devout were given an amazing list of prohibitions —fences. For example, looking in the mirror was forbidden, because if you looked into the mirror on the Sabbath day and saw a gray hair, you might be tempted to pull it out and thus perform work on the Sabbath.


You also could not wear your false teeth; if they fell out, you would have to pick them up and you would be working. In regard to carrying a burden, you could not carry a handkerchief on the Sabbath, but you could wear a handkerchief. That meant if you were upstairs and wanted to take the handkerchief downstairs, you would have to tie it around your neck, walk downstairs, and untie it. Then you could blow your nose downstairs!


The rabbis debated about a man with a wooden leg: if his home caught on fire, could he carry his wooden leg out of the house on the Sabbath? One could spit on the Sabbath, but you had to be careful where. If it landed on the dirt and you scuffed it with your sandal, you would be cultivating the soil and thus performing work.


For many in Jesus’ day, ritual replaced a relationship with God; reputation was more important than godliness. Jesus labeled these attitudes as hypocrisy. Our spiritual growth can succeed only if we are willing to have our hearts and outward actions changed according to God’s Word, not man’s bright ideas.





Before we start feeling too pious, let’s pause to remember that we all have traditions in Church and worship. Yes, even in Ignite, we have traditions. We share communion every week, that’s a tradition. Some of us dressing nice for Church. We start with worship the same way every week… tradition again! These may be good, some perhaps not so good, and none of them seem as absurd as the Mishnah traditions.


I’ve often heard people in Pentecostal churches refer to another churches as “traditional”, but don’t be fooled, we Pentecostals are as traditional as they are, just in different ways. They have responsive readings, we pray in a certain way. We dunk, they sprinkle. We raise our hands, they do not… both are traditions.



Colossians 2:8 (ESV Strong's)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.


The Greek word for tradition is Paradosis, which is the same as used by Jesus with the Pharisees.


And while many traditions are comforting and can be helpful, some can also take us captive and steer us away from God! Traditions are fine, but they are hollow, devoid of any teal life. What sustains us in our hour of need is not traditions but the power of God, the Word of God and the Spirit of God! So we must be on guard!





Church traditions can point us to Christ, or steer us away from Jesus. Most of us enjoy communion every week, but do we let it grow stale and “same ol, same ol”? The problem many times is often not so much in the tradition itself, but in our attitude to it.


All around us, people are in churches where they feel obligated to stay but are slowly dying. Some have loads of ritual, but zero relationship. Some have lots liturgies but no life. Some provide entertainment but no encounter. Many older denominations are steeped in religious traditions that have nothing to do with God, and are impossible to find in His Word. And let’s face it, some of our modern churches have the same, just in a modern guise!


And this is the point… religious traditions can be good, bad or just plain ugly. How do we know the difference? How can we figure out and embrace good traditions and reject the bad? The only standard we can have is the Word of God.


But not everything is specifically addressed in the Bible. However, principles are in the Bible. The Bible does not say, “Thou must not take drugs,” but in many places it talks of self control in places like Galatians 5, which is clearly affected by drug taking. It doesn’t specifically mention smoking, cyberporn, cell phones or Facebook, rock music, styles of worship, etc. but clearly lays out behaviour that applies to these modern phenomenon.


It should be the same in Church. We can embrace traditions, sure, but only those that align with God’s Word.  And some church traditions are clearly human in origin. Nowhere does it say that priests must be celibate, that’s a human tradition. Nowhere does it say you cannot eat meat on Friday. Nowhere does it say you have to sing certain songs or do certain rituals.  Nowhere does it command us to make the sign of the cross, or use bells and smells when we worship. These human traditions were originally brought in by well meaning men for noble reasons, but let’s be clear, they are not God’s Word!


Titus 1:13-14 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.


The thing is man made traditions in religions were designed to remind us of God, but ultimately man made traditions do not set us free, they binds us, fences us in and controls us. Many times people choose religion instead of God, and however noble the intent of the religious tradition. I recently saw a program on notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar, who murdered, extorted, exploited and fornicated his way through life, but still worshipped at a Catholic Church, went to confession and made the sign of the cross.


2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV Strong's)

For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


Religion and human tradition, as good as it might be, in the end kills rather than brings life if it is not based on the Word of God and directed by the Holy Spirit.


And Religious tradition often has a sinister spirit behind it, one of control and superiority. Let’s look at what Jesus said in Mark and pull back the curtain and see what is really behind not all but some man made traditions...




Religion makes you feel pious, superior and better than the next person.  We think we are the best, our denomination has it right and everybody else is wrong. God calls this pride!


The ritualistic washings the Jewish leaders talked about in Mark 7 gave them a sense of being  “special”, and that other people were “unclean”! If a Jew went to the marketplace to buy food, he might be “defiled” by a Gentile or (God forbid!) a Samaritan. This tradition had begun centuries before to remind the Jews that they were God’s elect people and therefore had to keep themselves morally clean and separated. However, this good reminder had gradually degenerated into an empty ritual, a set of holier than Thou rules and the result was pride and religious isolation.


And listen, we can be just as superior. I cannot tell you how many good Pentecostal people have smugly told me that others are “not Spirit filled” as if they are inferior. Being filled with the Spirit of God is a joy and a blessing, it can be a powerhouse for your spiritual life, but it is not a higher rank than another believer. At Ignite Christian Church, we value unity and love for one another above any specific gift.  That’s why when Paul talked about tongues and prophecy in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, he placed the great love chapter right in the middle. Why? He said he wants us all to exercise the gifts, but we need to love one another more than we love the making others do what we want.


That being said, do I want us all to be filled with the Spirit? Absolutely! I want us all on fire for Christ, I desire to see every person ignited with a passion for Jesus that consumes them. But as your pastor, I’m not here to be superior, and I refuse to force you to do something that you are not comfortable with.. I am here to serve!


Luke 18:10-14 (ESV Strong's)

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”


Religion makes us feel superior, but Jesus calls us to be servants.




The second thing tradition can do is be used to manipulate. In the passage we started with in Mark 7, Jesus Himself sites a specific example of how people can use religious traditions to control and manipulate for their own ends.


Mark 7:9-13 (ESV Strong's)

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”


The situation is that the fifth commandment of the law stating you should honour and care for your parents in their age. These religious leaders saw a loophole that trumped caring for your ailing parents.  If you “dedicated” your money to God, you could hang onto it and not give towards your parents care.


Tradition manipulates the situation, in much the same way as Jehovah’s Witnesses use religious tradition and control in teaching their people that they have to witness door to door to get to heaven… they have no assurance of salvation like we do, but the sect gets an endless stream of workers going door to door!


I have seen pastors in our churches using religious tradition to manipulate and control people, to force them to do what the leader wants. This is not leadership, this is abuse, and Jesus got real mad about this kind of religious abuse! Again, traditions are great but they must not be a tool for control or superiority.




People love traditions, and we in the Church do also. They remind us of great truths or great blessings. But Jesus addressed the Pharisees about this because they were substituting traditions of men for the Word of God. A tradition may actually be good and may be established for a very good reason. However, it crosses the line and becomes evil when it is a substitute for the Word of God in later generations. And that is what has happened to these people here.


Anything we establish that is not according to God’s Word is going to become destructive and controlling. And you can see this in many denominations today, some of which started great and have dropped away to become a shell.


Every move of God comes in 4 stages. A man, a movement, a machine and a monument.


It starts with a man, a dynamic man who has a dynamic, God given vision. Look at John Wesley and Methodism, William Booth and the Salvation Army. Look at Amy Semple McPherson and the Four Square movement. Great men and woman, great power, and great anointing.


This then gives rise to a movement, and the denomination gains influence and grows in numbers. But after some time, maybe a generation or two, people are just going through the motions. It becomes a machine, still big and influential, but it’s lost its edge, it’s lost its Holy Spirit power. It’s lost its specific calling and anointing.


It finishes up a monument to past glories. Man, movement, machine, monument. Where are we?


In our Bible reading this week in Mark 11, Jesus cursed the fig tree which was in bloom. Why? Is it because he doesn’t like figs? No, it was a comment in the Pharisees and the religious traditions of the day. He was saying, “you look the part, you look and act religious, but there is no fruit!” Let this be a warning to us. It is not our religion, not our tradition, not our gifts or Bible scholarship that impresses Christ. It is the fruit of the Spirit that He is looking for.




Told you I would slay a few holy cows this morning!


Many of you here have come from different churches with different traditions, and I love that you’ve found a home here. Many have only ever know Pentecostalism, and I love that you have accepted and embraced those who think slightly differently to you.


We face a choice this morning, and interestingly this is the same choice that the people of Israel faced Millenia ago…


Exodus 20:18-21 (ESV Strong's)

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.


The people had a unique opportunity, to establish an intimate and special relationship with God, one where He would talk directly to them. But they were afraid, they feared God and were fearful of what He might ask them to do. So they told Moses to go and talk to God for them, then relay the message to them, while they stood afar off, distant from God.


I think we can all agree that human tradition is no substitute for the Word of God, right?




God wants relationship, not religion. He doesn’t want tradition, He wants to touch you. But some of us, because we are scared, because we are comfortable with certain traditions, we choose law over love, and religion over relationship.


But today, I believe that God is asking us to choose Him, and take a chance on a God who loves you. Let us never choose anything, any belief, any tradition over a close relationship with the Lord. I love most of our traditions, but I refuse to let whether you speak in tongues or not, whether you prophesy or not, whether you like hymns or like popular songs, whether you’ve been baptised in water or baptised in the Spirit, I refuse to let that stand between us!


Unity is where the Lord bestows blessing, and God has called Ignite to be a church of unity! We must be one in the Spirit, and while we may not see eye to eye, we can still walk hand in hand and arm in arm.


2 Timothy 2:23-24 (ESV Strong's)

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,


Church, we stand on the brink of something Mighty here at Ignite. God is unrolling, unfurling a vision before me that is the most exciting I have ever been a part of. And you are a part of it too! So let us agree to set aside the things that separate, even if you think you are right, and let us agree to love first and foremost. Let us agree that our standard is simply the Bible. If it’s in here, it’s in. If it’s not, it’s not!


But ultimately we face the same decision the people of Israel faced… rules or relationship. This is why I continue to remind you of the Bible reading plan. I’m not trying to control you, but if you read this every day, just 2 chapters a day, then you will grow your relationship. If not this plan, do another, but will you covenant with me to endeavour to read His Word and pray every day? Tun off Facebook, click the TV off and read or listen to 2 chapters a day. Then you will discover life abundantly, a greater life in God than you have ever experienced, and all the things you need will be added to you.


Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong's)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.





Speaking Life- Ps Greg Biddell

January 16, 2018

Speaking life into your heart and your situation is the subject of this excellent and inspiring message from pastor Greg Biddell.


Greg and Sue have been in ministry since 1966 and have served as missionaries, pastors and teachers.  They now travel extensively throughout Australia as itinerant ministers. To read more information about Greg and Sue and their ministry, please go to the About Us tab on the tool bar above.

Our desire is to teach the Word of God in a practical way, to help you be victorious, live in health and receive the blessings of God for your family, church and business life.

Greg has written and published over thirty five BooksCD's and Charts, which can be viewed on our Products page or from the navigation bar on the left.  These are great resources which will inspire you to move deeper into God's Word.

So if you are keen to be speaking life into all the situations you face, rather than words of death, then listen to Greg's message now...


Total Surrender

January 8, 2018

As we face a New Year, we wonder what is in store for us. Is this going to be a good year, or a tough one? Am I going to go ahead with the potential in my life, or fall away? Is it going to be the same as last year and the year before?


I believe that this is a pivotal year for Ignite Christian Church, and for each of you personally. I was recently criticised by a visitor for preaching too hard on righteousness, but I make no apology for this. I’m not here to play games or tickle ears, I’m here to encourage but also to challenge you. My vision for you is not to see you cruise through life and just exist, rather it is to see you thrive in the things of God and to inspire you in 2018 to become all that God has destined you to be.


I have sought the Lord asking for a key verse for this year, and I believe He has given us


Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong's)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.


In 2018, Ignite Church is the light on a hill, and we are called to shine boldly and brightly in this dark world. Another verse our leadership have received several times is this one…


Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong's)

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.


So it is time to stop looking back, however good, however tough, and start looking ahead to what the Lord has destined for us!


As we face this New Year, what  can make a difference in Ignite and also in us as individuals?




One of our greatest needs as human beings is to know that we are loved. Each one of us here has to feel certain, deep down in our hearts, that someone loves us, cares for us, and has our best interests at heart.


The need to be loved is at the centre of most human relationships.  Men and women getting married, having families, having affairs, giving presents at Christmas, bringing up children, playing sport, joining clubs, joining Church, signing up to RSVP… all of us want to be loved in some way. And all of us need to know that somebody loves us.


That is how God designed us. He wants us to know that He loves each and every one of us with a passionate intensity too deep for words.


Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.


God created human beings with fellowship in mind—first with Himself and then with others. But we cannot fully love one another until we have ourselves experienced the love of God. We experience His love when we willingly surrender to His call to be our Saviour, Lord, and Friend.


2018 is the year to get intimate with God.  It is the year to totally surrender to Him!




The fact is, many of us cannot hear God with any degree of accuracy or confidence. Lots of Christians say, “God told me this or that,” but how can they know? Very often Christians preface what is actually their opinion with the phrase, “God told me…” because they know that we can have no come back if it were true. That’s not often God, that’s often manipulation!


Of all the people who say, “God told me to tell you this” over the past year, barely a handful would genuinely be God.  Many good people tell me that they are never sure if the Lord is speaking to them, if at all.


So this year, how can you foster an attitude and a lifestyle that enables the Lord to speak to you intimately as He promised He will? Do you have to be a crazy nutcase to hear God, and is the only other alternative being as spiritually deaf as a post?


Of course not! Hearing God should be a natural part of every Christian’s relationship with the Lord. You shouldn’t be weird or over the top strange to have to hear God, and my experience is that most of the odd people are not really hearing God clearly anyway.


But neither should you be spiritually hard of hearing. Religious people in church, even back in Jesus’ day, never had a great track record of listening to God, that why Jesus quoted Isaiah in saying,

Matthew 13:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Now, I want to give you one word that can transform your year. One word that will open your eyes to what God wants you to see, one word that will open your spiritual ears to hear Him. One word that, if you truly embraced it and acted upon it, will take the life that you live right now and morph it into the life you’ve dreamed of, the powerful, Spirit filled life your Father has destined you to live…




Charles Stanley writes, “Our intimacy with God determines the impact of our lives.”


Surrender is defined as, “To yield to the power, control or possession of another.” (Miriam Webster’s Dictionary)

Romans 12:1 (ESV Strong's)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

The Greek word for present is paristemi which means to yield or surrender.


When I think of surrender, I always think of soldiers with their hands above their heads, yielding to the power of their conquerors. Now, when a soldier surrenders there is much fear. They have been fighting against the enemy, killing and destroying, and so to yield or surrender means they place their life into their enemy’s control, with no guarantees of survival or humane  treatment. They take a chance, and their life hangs in the balance.


But not so when we surrender to Christ. We yield to Christ with the knowledge that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Psalms 9:10 (ESV Strong's)

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

There are at least three reasons God seeks our surrender:




God loves us and desires our fellowship and worship. If we hold something back from God, if we refuse to draw close to Him by surrendering our lives to Him, we cannot know Him completely or fully experience His love.

James 4:7-8 (ESV Strong's)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.


When we surrender to Him, when we yield our lives to Him, we get all of Him. When we decide to move close to the Lord, when we start to seek Him with all our hearts, He moves closer to us.




God wants our service for Him to be effective and fruitful.


The more we know and love Jesus, the more effective our service will be, and the more He will grow our ministry. The closer we draw to God, the more impact our lives will have. The more energetically we nurture our relationship with the Lord, the greater the positive mark we will leave behind.

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV Strong's)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.


 Surrendering to God means more effective service, and this is what I mean by surrendering to God grows your ministry.




God waits for the freedom to bless us.


Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV Strong's)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.


Note verse 13, seeking God with all your heart. This is surrendering to Him.


God is omnipotent, He is all powerful and can do anything, but He will not violate His own principles. He draws us to Himself so we can experience His love and forgiveness. He asks for our willing surrender so that He can give us the best blessings He has to offer.


We are sometimes like a young child watching TV. Their parent comes and wants to take them to the zoo, but they resist because they are content just watching TV, not knowing the wonderful experience awaiting them!




It is in your interests to surrender to God today at the start of this year! But we resist, don’t we? Why do we want to join the resistance instead of surrendering to someone whose expressed desire is to bless us not to harm us?


With all the blessings God has clearly in mind for us, why does anyone resist surrendering to God?


1.      PRIDE


Pride is the key reason most people resist surrender.


I remember Kira learning to tie her shoelaces, saying, “I do it mine self” and making us all late!


People think they know better than God and that they can handle their lives better than He can, so they keep Him at a distance.  Which is ironic, given the mess most of our lives finish up in, isn’t it?

Proverbs 18:12 (ESV Strong's)

Before destruction a man's heart is haughty (prideful), but humility comes before honor.

God wants us to put our trust in him.

We insult God when we trust in our own resources, or anything else, to deliver us from our problems. When we surrender our lives to God, we become his own chosen ones. He promises to hear us when we call out to him.


2.      FEAR


Others do not surrender because they fear what God will do (or not do) for them. They think that if they give God control, He’ll make them do exactly what will make them most miserable.


Many apparently can trust God to give them heaven, but cannot trust Him enough to give them heaven on earth in a life of fulfilment and joy.



Fear of the Lord is a great thing. Fear of the future is not. Can your trust in God exceed your fear for the future?

Proverbs 29:25 (ESV Strong's)

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.


We often treat God like a man, thinking He is out to punish us, or make us suffer, or make us do things we hate just to show us who is boss. God is not like that, so stop tarring Him with the same brush as you would a leader, pastor or politician.

John 14:27 (ESV Strong's)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.


3.      UNBELIEF


Still others refuse to surrender to Christ because they believe Satan’s lie, which tells them that God is judgmental and will punish them for their mistakes.


Jesus says this about Satan…

John 8:44 (ESV Strong's)

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.


Don’t let your pride, fear or unbelief stop you from fully surrendering to the Lord




God always has our best in mind. He will refuse us no good thing when we gladly submit to His will. He tells us, “‘I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope”’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Romans 8:31-32 (ESV Strong's)

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?


When we fully surrender to Him, He will withhold no good thing. Of course, we will still face trials of many kinds, but He will graciously help us triumph over them, and use the trials to build character and wisdom into our lives.


It only makes sense to surrender to God, because when we do, we grow close to Him—which is His highest priority for us—and we begin to have an impact on our world.


And right now, at the start of the New Year is the perfect time to fully surrender to Him and allow Him to fulfil our destiny!


I have to do this every day.  I constantly have to fully surrender my life to Christ. In my life I have trusted many things, from my own talents and abilities to my profession to financial advisors.


When I fully surrender to Christ, when I fully trust Him for my provision, my future, my reputation and my blessings, that is when He can truly work in my behalf. Whatever I have to face, if I can face them with Jesus, I will be content!




Is this the cry of your heart? Do you want to know the Savior and live in the fullness of His blessing each day? You can. David wrote,

Psalms 34:10 (ESV Strong's)

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Young lions try their best, but they are young, strong and headstrong. This year, are you resolved to work harder, try harder, do your best more often, or are you ready to surrender and give it all to Jesus?


If you boarded a flight to Sydney from our local airport, and the pilot was just 1 degree to the east off, you would land 17 km out to sea! The only way the pilot can cause you to arrive at your destination is to constantly realign the direction of the plane.


At the start of this year, we need realignment. We constantly need realignment. We need to be totally surrendering daily to God, and we can start right now.


If you have drifted in your devotion to the Savior last year and feel as though you grow more distant each day in your relationship with Him, then pray that He will draw you near once more. He knows your weaknesses, and if you will tell Him that you want Him to take control of your life, He will come to you in a mighty way and bring hope and light to your situation, no matter how dark and hopeless it may feel…

Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV Strong's)

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.




Charles Blondin, the great French tightrope Walker, became famous in 1860 for walking across a quarter of a mile of tightrope stretched 160 feet above Niagara Falls. He performed the feat many times in a variety of death defying ways, including on stilts, on a bicycle and blindfolded. He even carried a small stove and eggs across, and stopped halfway to cook an omelet!


Then he took a wheelbarrow across the falls, and asked the huge crowd if they believed he could carry a man in the wheelbarrow across Niagara Falls. They enthusiastically replied, “Yes, you’re the greatest tightrope walker in the world.”


“Ok!” He replied, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow?”

James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong's)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

You’ve heard me call for total surrender this morning, and you can sit and applaud my fully committed heart. But today, I’m asking you to get into the wheelbarrow, I’m asking you to respond by not just listening, not just agreeing, not just thinking or resolving, but by stepping out and doing…


William Booth said, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”


How great do you want to be in this coming year? How surrendered are you prepared to be?