Ps Darin Browne @ Ignite Christian Church
Ps Darin Browne - Heroes Part 1

Ps Darin Browne - Heroes Part 1

May 31, 2020

Today we live our heroes, on the sporting field, in politics and in movies. I was watching TV recently and saw an ad with a montage of the various stars of  Discovery channel shows and they start to applaud and when the shots pull back they are applauding doctors, nurses and first responders in this pandemic.

 

Suddenly we see the fact that real heroes are very often ordinary people who, through adverse circumstances, rise to do extraordinary things. Today want to examine the life of an ordinary, discouraged, oppressed even timid guy who became a judge, a leader and a conqueror. His name is Gideon.

 

SIX LESSONS ON FAITH FROM A FAITHLESS GUY

 

In Judges, we see the cycle of the nation of Israel’s fortunes. They rebel against God, God allows Adversity and oppression, in their pain they cry out to God, and God in His love sends a hero to rescue them. They repent, then fall away again and the whole cycle continues. Maybe this is how your life looks?

 

That’s where we meet an ordinary guy called Gideon, who has something to teach us about faith. He’s as oppressed and scared as the next guy with his situation, not an impressive hero at all, and I for one relate to that!

 

1.      GOD USES TOUGH TIMES TO GET OUR ATTENTION

 

This pandemic has driven some people away from God, and some of us towards Him. Either way, for the first time in a long time, He has our attention. People are not thinking about cars, houses, things, football or food, they are thinking about life, family and what really is important in this world.

 

But the end of Judges 5, we find the nation at peace, at ease and, as often happens, complacent and apathetic about God… Many of us just a few months ago. They had it all, and as it tends to happen to us all in such times, Israel forgot God. They became self-sufficient. They didn't need God.

 

So the Lord thought He’d shake things up a bit by rousing an enemy against them to show them how hard life can be without Him.

 

Judges 6:1-2 (ESV Strong's)

The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.

 

So God sends these evil Midianites to oppress them for 7 years. The Midianites were a terrifying and warmongering tribe who raided and stole all the produce on the land, forcing the Israelites to live in fear and even retreat to caves to survive. And although these Israelites had largely forgotten God, and were back into idolatry by this stage worshipping Baal, in a pinch they turned back to the true God…

 

7 years, you might ask why they waited so long to turn back to the Lord? Because they're a lot like us - they waited until every other possible option played out and they couldn't take it any longer.

 

Judges 6:6 (ESV Strong's)

And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.

 

How many times have hard circumstances come to us, and we never stop to ask what God is planning for us in those circumstances? Instead we hold out, thinking that we can handle it on our own. Learn this from Gideon: every experience in life is a test. And every trial in the lives of God's people is tailored to draw us closer to God, and grow faith in our hearts.

 

Here's the point: When tough times come, instead of looking at them as if God is punishing you, instead of whining and complaining about how tough life is, try to see them as God's gift of grace. A test, even a blessing to grow your faith.

 

C.S. Lewis said it like this, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It's His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

 

Right now God is shouting to a unbelieving world, and to us who are Christians, and we need to hear Him and respond by turning to Him.

 

Hebrews 12:11-12 (ESV Strong's)

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

 

2.      GOD’S VIEW IS BIGGER THAN OURS

 

God sees far more than we do, and He is waiting for us to turn to Him. He sends an unknown prophet to call the people back to repentance, then He raises up an unknown and unlikely hero, called Gideon.

 

Gideon’s name actually means, “One who cuts down tress and destroys stuff,” But he was anything but that! He was frustrated, timid and scared.

 

Judges 6:11 (ESV Strong's)

Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.

 

Winnowing wheat should be done in a breezy area, not a hole in the ground. But so scared were the Israelites of Midian they resorted to compromise. And the angel of God, with ironic humour, says this…

 

Judges 6:12 (ESV Strong's)

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

 

God sees things inside us when we cannot. Here’s Gideon, threshing in a wine press, and he is greeted not as who he sees himself as, but as who God sees him becoming!

 

One of the biggest lies the devil sells us is that God only uses special people. If you are a born-again believer, you are God's child, royalty, a prince or a princes, and God says He has plans to prosper you. He says you are His workmanship, His masterpiece, and He is out there preparing opportunities for you to become the mighty man or woman of God you are destined to be!

 

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV Strong's)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

God sees not who you are right now, but who you can become in Him.

 

3.      GOD CONFIRMS HIS PRIORITIES WITH HIS PRESENCE

 

Gideon felt like God had long abandoned them…

 

Judges 6:13 (ESV Strong's)

And Gideon said to him, “Please, my Lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

 

Some of you feel like that right now. Isolated, lonely, socially distanced, many feel disconnected from the church, and from God. Gideon felt like that. It’s ok to feel like that, it’s just not ok to stay there. God looked him full in the face,

 

Judges 6:14 (ESV Strong's)

And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”

 

Gideon then throws up his upbringing.

 

Judges 6:15 (ESV Strong's)

And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.”

 

Listen, whatever your family, your background, your failures or your past, destiny is determined not by circumstances, but by choices. If the devil tries to remind you of your past, try reminding him of his future! God’s reply was

 

Judges 6:16 (ESV Strong's)

And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

 

When God calls you, He empowers you and even better, He walks the road with you. You are never alone. People ask where is God in all this COVID stuff, and I tell them I know where He is… Right here with me, walking the road!

 

God confirms His priorities with His presence. He says, I will be with you, and He doesn’t lie…

 

Numbers 23:19 (ESV Strong's)

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?

 

But Gideons lack of faith began to shine through in his next words…

 

Judges 6:17 (ESV Strong's)

And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me.

 

Many of us are like this, we doubt the promises of God. Gideon is talking directly to God, and has nothing but doubts and excuses. Here’s the thing… God didn’t zap him! God loved him, and showed grace by slowly building his faith. But once built, Gideon needed a test to prove to himself that God can use him to rescue his people.

 

4.      PERSONAL FAITH PRECEDES PUBLIC USEFULNESS

 

How could Gideon leads his people to victory when his own family were idolators. God isn’t God to Gideon’s people, Baal was!

 

So the first assignment from the Lord was to take his dad's prized bull and tear down the idols. Then, Gideon was to sacrifice said bull using the wood from the destroyed idol. Gideon did it, passed the test and kicked up a huge storm of reaction.

 

Why would this detail be in the Bible? To show us that, if we want to become great for God, we must first set our own house in order.

 

Before God can use you mightily, He must be magnified in your own life, in your own home. Private faith prepares us for public power from God, and there are no short cuts… Holiness is holiness.

 

Judges 6:27 (ESV Strong's)

So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.

 

So there was still fear, but he stepped out and did it, scared or not. So is there anything you've been holding on to? Is there any sin that you're clinging to? Knock down your idols today. Confess your sin. Deal with it and return to full obedience to God and the God will use you to impact the world!

 

Will it stir things up when you do this? You bet, but God will honour those who honour Him! It happened for Gideon, and even his idolatrous father Joash began to change and stand up for his son and the Lord.

 

Judges 6:31 (ESV Strong's)

But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.”

 

5.      GOD IS PATIENT WITH OUR FAITH

 

Now despite Gideon being touted in Hebrews as a hero of the faith, his story shows anything but a hero for a long time.  He passed the personal test of faith, and now people rallied to the cause of fighting Midianites, 32,000.

 

Judges 6:34 (ESV Strong's)

But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.

 

If this were a movie, he’d come up with a rousing speech, “We will fight them on the fields, on the ground, in the mountains, this is our finest hour, this is our Independence Day. But no, Gideon was busy doubting.

 

I’m like that as a pastor. You’re called, God has anointed you, but some days your faith just has the wind sucked out of it. It only takes a few words of criticism, a questioning glance, and suddenly you doubt that God’s even called you at all.

 

Even after his encounter with Almighty God, even though he had been obedient to clean shop at home, and even though the Holy Spirit was empowering him, Gideon still struggled with doubts. He knows that God has promised to save Israel through him, but he's looking in the mirror and the reflection he sees doesn't look encouraging.

 

God still doesn’t zap him. God doesn’t even chastise him for lack of faith. God loves him, and extends grace to him and meets his bizaar request about fleeces.

 

Judges 6:37-38 (ESV Strong's)

behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.

 

A fleece is not faith, but it is faith building. Faithful people don’t need to put out a fleece, but sometimes some of us do.

 

Great… Fleece put out, God comes through, I’m ready to go Lord! Oops, maybe not…

 

Judges 6:39 (ESV Strong's)

Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.”

 

Again God does it to prove He is with him in power.  I love how loving, tender, and patient God is with us. Gideon is making a deal with God. He wants a confirming sign. I bet most of us are no different.

 

Why did God bother? Why not just say, I’ve had enough of your doubting attitude Gideon, I’m going to empower Joshua down the road instead of you.  That’s how we think God is with us, but when we genuinely have doubts, God loves us enough to persist… Not forever, but until our faith is stronger.

 

Our Lord was developing this man into a fully invested man of faith, matching each doubt with a kind reassurance. God will show you the same patience as well as you seek His face, dealing with each of your fears to grow you into a man or woman of God.

 

6.      VICTORY IS OBTAINED BY GOD’S POWER, NOT OURS

 

Gideon is good to go, it’s game on, and he heads off to war with his 32,000, knowing God is empowering him. But God has other plans. We think we know  best, we have ideas and opinions, but sometimes God just trumps them.

 

Judges 7:2-3 (ESV Strong's)

The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.

 

Brilliant God, just chop our numbers by 2/3. Why? Because God doesn’t want us to take the glory for ourselves, thinking we did it all! And God knows us so  well. Pastors think they are great because they have a big church. Business people who are successful praise their skills and hard work. Families where kids turn out good praise their parenting. Yes, our actions and abilities influence it, but no matter how good we think we are, it is all, every bit of it, a blessing from the Lord.

 

James 1:17 (ESV Strong's)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

 

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

 

Only 10,000, but still God says that’s too many. Really God? Yes, He culls the army down by 9,700 men who stoop to drink from a river, leaving only those 300 who lapped water from their hands. Now God’s happy, and Gideons faith is stretched but holds…

 

Judges 7:7 (ESV Strong's)

And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”

 

God does this to us as He builds our faith. Little by little He teaches you to rely solely on Him. Ignite Church is scattered and stretched in this COVID time. My faith is stretched, and trying to restart live church is scary. It’s an unknown, and perhaps God is stripping us back to teach us to trust Him more. Jesus said,

 

 Luke 18:27 (ESV Strong's)

But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

 

God created an impossible situation of human weakness to exalt His own strength. This is His specialty!

 

Accomplishing God's purposes is not determined by the bottom line on a finance sheet, or the size of our congregation, or the efficiency of our plans, or our skills, talents or determination. We need to attend to all those things, sure.

 

But the truth is, God is looking to glorify Himself on earth through people who are fully dependent on Him, who believe He is with them and are ready to charge the enemy in the name of the Lord!

 

God doesn't need a majority vote from us on this. He doesn't need us at all. But He loves us so much He invites us to join Him in doing His will. When we do, we reap the blessing and He gets the glory. D. L Moody said: "Give me ten men who fear nothing but sin and love nothing but God, and I shall change the world."

 

So Gideon led the 300 out with trumpets, torches, and jars to meet the crazy killers. God sent confusion into the ranks of the enemy so that they began attacking each other. When it was over, 120,000 Midianites had killed one another and the other 15,000 fled. God had answered Israel's prayers, and He did it all using a fearful, normal bloke who decided to trust God.

 

SO WHAT ABOUT US?

 

Gideon shows us that you don’t have to be a super Spiro to be used by God. You don’t need a Bible degree, a ton of money or extreme talent.

 

God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and in this extraordinary time, I believe God wants to use you. You don’t need anything special, just a heart for God, a phone, a Facebook account and it also helps to have a church who believes in you.

 

But you need 2 things… A heart devoted to God, and I mean really devoted, not just “Hey God, can you get me this,” But, “I’ll serve with everything I have no matter what.” And the second thing you need is faith, faith to step out and believe God, faith to stand when others fall, faith no matter if you get what you want or not.

 

I know many of you watching want to be used by God. Maybe you struggle with faith. Pray with me and let’s commit ourselves to the Lord to use us as a church over the next many months to shine God’s love.

 

Ps Darin Browne - Reset 5

Ps Darin Browne - Reset 5

May 24, 2020

I’ve been sharing a series on resetting your life in this Corona virus period. We’ve looked at resetting faith and Holiness, priorities and love, and today I want to round it out by looking ahead. How can you reset your destiny?

 

People talk about destiny like it is an external force that moves onto your life, but that is simply not true. Destiny can be influenced by circumstances, but it is not determined by them. Destiny is determined by choices.

 

God has a destiny for every one of us, but the truth is that in the hustle and bustle of life, through the changes and decisions we face, most of us lose this destiny to a large degree. This unusual time in history is the perfect moment to reset your destiny.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 (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.

 

So rather than trusting circumstances, or swallowing whatever life hands you, let’s pause right now and choose to trust the Lord who said He has plans fit you, to prosper you and give you hope…

 

Prayer… Lord, I choose to take my eyes off circumstances, off my past, my upbringing, my failures, my pain and what everyone says I should be, and I place my eyes on You, my Creator, my my Sustainer and my Lord! Lord I seek Your destiny for my life.

 

YOU HAVE A DESTINY

 

You are not an accident. You are not a mistake. God has a destiny for you, with all your hang ups, screw ups, handicaps, challenges and fears. God has a plan, and you’re it! God told Jeremiah,

 

Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV Strong's)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

 

You may look at yourself and see failure. You might see a rough start in life, a disability, fears, lack of self esteem or lack of opportunity, but I’m telling God has a plan and a destiny for you. It’s been established from before you were born, and this destiny involves you conforming to the image of His Son.

 

Romans 8:29 (ESV Strong's)

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

 

So what does discovering your destiny depend on? Here’s 7 things…

 

1.      DESTINY DEPENDS ON IDENTITY

 

A key step in discovering your God ordained destiny is to know who you are, your identity.

 

Prince Harry caused such controversy because he married an actress, moved away from England and has forsaken his duties and his destiny as a prince. It was just assumed that he would act a certain way and follow a certain destiny because he was who he was, but he decided no. His identity dictated his destiny, until his choices changed it.

 

So, who are you really? What’s your identity, and hence your destiny?

 

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV Strong's)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

 

We are a royal priesthood, and we need to live like it, and move towards our royal destiny, and maybe avoid marrying an actress.

 

2.      DESTINY TAKES FAITH

 

God has a plan and a destiny for you, but you play a huge part in it. To follow your destiny takes courage and faith.

 

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV Strong's)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

 

It takes faith to move towards a destiny you cannot see, but if you keep reading Hebrews 11 you will read about the many Bible heroes who moved into their destinies, by faith.

 

Hebrews 11:8 (ESV Strong's)

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

 

Discovering your destiny takes faith, because God generally doesn’t reveal your full destiny, he asks you to trust Him for each step. Destiny requires faith for every step.

 

3.      DESTINY COSTS YOU

 

And destiny costs you. Moving into your destiny isn't a cruise through a comfortable life, it’s you stepping out in faith and it costs you. Every decision costs something, time, effort, money or lost opportunity.

 

Galatians 6:7-8 (ESV Strong's)

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

 

Anything worthwhile costs you. The question is, are you willing to pay the price? Whatever you decide, you will reap what you sow, more than you sow and later than you sow. God has a destiny, but will you pay the cost even up to your very life?

 

4.      DESTINY IS DETERMINED BY GOD

 

You cannot pick what you want, you need to trust God to do what He wants.

 

Ephesians 1:11 (ESV Strong's)

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

 

I’m sick of people telling God what He needs to do for them. What right do we have to order the God who created the universe around? Surely we should trust Him that His will for us is best, because He created us, knows us and…

 

Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

God arranges and works all things to bring about our destiny and His good purpose.

 

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV Strong's)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

 

5.      YOUR DESTINY IS NOT FOR YOU ALONE

 

Your destiny is not for you alone, because others around you bear the consequences too, good or bad. When God called Abram he said,

 

Genesis 12:2-3 (ESV Strong's)

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

 

Your choices, good or bad, affect others around you, and generations to come. So decide now to choose God’s way, not just for your sake, but for the people you love and your children, and their children and their children!

 

6.      DESTINY CAN BE LOST OR FOUND

 

Destiny is not set, written in stone, it is not immutable. Fulfilling your destiny depends on you and your obedience.

 

Sadly the Bible has many stories of people with great destinies, great potential, which they lost because of their disobedience.

 

King Saul was Israel’s first king. He was tall, handsome and initially successful. At first he was obedient, but then he repeatedly disobeyed, culminating in his not waiting for God, and disobeying God’s direct order. God had had enough.

 

1 Samuel 15:22-23 (ESV Strong's)

And Samuel said,

“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

as in obeying the voice of the LORD?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

and to listen than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is as the sin of divination,

and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,

he has also rejected you from being king.”

 

Samson in Judges 13-16, was full of strength, anointed of God, powerful, strong, but continually made bad decisions regarding women. Eventually he went too far with a chick called Delilah, and when his hair was cut, he was weakened, captured and enslaved. He lost his destiny.

 

King Uzziah, King  Hezekiah,

 

Solomon, the wisest man ever lost his destiny towards the end of his life when his foreign wives turned his head…

 

1 Kings 11:4 (ESV Strong's)

For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

 

So many people of faith lose their destiny. I bet many of you have lost your destiny too. You once had such potential, you once stepped out in faith for God, you had a dream of serving Jesus and making a difference, and knew He had a great destiny for you but somewhere along the way you’ve lost it.

 

This reset is your opportunity to get it back.

 

7.      YOUR DESTINY DEPENDS ON YOUR CHOICES

 

You see, ultimately your destiny depends not on circumstances but on your choices. I meet people all the time who blame God for their lot in life, when they have never been obedient to His Word. Your choices carry destiny within them, and not just for you but for generations to come…

 

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,

 

I see it all the time, people who turn away from God and their kids follow suit. If you truly love your kids, make God honouring choices and lead them to Him.

 

If you refuse to obey God, why should He bother leading you into the awesome destiny He has planned for you.

 

NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO RESET YOUR DESTINY

 

Sometimes it takes a seismic event to shake your life  to help you see the truth. Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to make you consider things bigger than or beyond what’s right in front of you.

 

This can happen in your life with a death, a divorce, a financial loss or church split, all of which are painful, but they get your attention.

 

The world wide corona virus pandemic is such a seismic event, so this is one of the greatest opportunities you have to discover, or discover again your destiny.

 

You’re never too old or too young. Whatever you’ve done in the past, this can be your moment to regain the destiny, the potential that was once there. God has a destiny for you, and it’s time to get back on track.

 

Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV Strong's)

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

This is your moment. Ignite can help you regain your destiny, because we believe everybody has a unique and wonderful destiny. But we are just servants, God holds your destiny, and if you turn and repent right now you can and will rediscover your destiny.

 

Psalms 138:8 (ESV Strong's)

The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

 

REACH OUT TO HIM NOW

 

God hasn’t forsaken you and He has plans for your life, as we saw at the beginning of this message,

 

Jeremiah 29:11 (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.

 

Those words were written to a generations of exiles, torn from their homes, loved ones killed or separated from them. They were slaves, without freedom, without money or wealth and without hope. But God said He had plans to prosper them, and give them a future.

 

He says the same to you right now!

 

Pray for your destiny

Ask Him to reveal the next step

Pledge to be obedient

Ps Darin Browne - Reset: Part 4
Ps Darin Browne - Mother’s Day

Ps Darin Browne - Mother’s Day

May 11, 2020

Welcome to the craziest Mothers Day ever, set as it were against the background of the corona virus. You can’t see your mum, or touch your mum, but you can zoom her, FaceTime her, Skype her and even telephone her.

 

I even heard that babies born in this year, in 13 years time will not be called generation X,  Y, Z, etc, but quaran-teens.

 

Today we celebrate mothers. Becoming a mother is a biological process, and it takes only a moment. Being a mother is not so easy, because it is a lifelong commitment for which there is no preparation, no training and often very little help.

 

One woman’s said, “Before I got married I had 3 theories on how to raise children. Now I have 3 children, and no theories!”

 

Exodus 20:12 (ESV Strong's)

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

 

So today, although we cannot be physically together, I want to honour the mothers here, and give you a virtual COVID 19 hug.

 

Being a great mum is a calling, and God has great plans for you mums. They say, The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. What that means is that mums have a disproportionate and amazing influence on their children, their grandchildren, and hence the whole of society.

 

2 Timothy 1:5 (ESV Strong's)

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. What w3 deposit with our children and grandchildren lives forever.

MOTHERHOOD- OVERVALUED BUT UNDERPAID

 

Men, you go out to work and expect to get paid for a job well done. Motherhood has been jointly described as the world’s most underpaid job, or the most highly paid job if you count love and goodwill instead of just money…

 

Salary.com conducted a survey in 2010 that attempted to place a monetary value on the work of a stay-at-home mom. They determined that if mothers were to be paid for their ten most common tasks in the home (including cleaner, janitor, taxi driver, computer operator, housekeeper, teacher, cook, chief executive officer, psychologist, and facilities manager) they would be paid over $120,000 per annum, much of it overtime.

Milton Berle once quipped, “If evolution is real,  how come mothers only have 2 hands!”

To every mum today, God has given you an unique calling… You are…

  1. GROWER

 

Psalms 127:3 (ESV Strong's)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

 

Mums, you have given birth to and nurtured your children, some fairly recently, some a long time ago. As a grower, you get to see them grow from a tiny baby into mature, and sometimes not so mature, adults.

 

Yours is the great challenge, and the great joy of seeing potential realised. But the challenge is, while you may have dreams of what you’re growing, you don’t actually know what you’re growing! If a farmer plants wheat, he gets wheat. If he plants corn, he doesn’t get cucumbers, he gets corn.

 

But mums, you could be growing a prime minister, or a doctor, or a pastor, or another mum, or you could be growing C criminal, a drug dealer or possibly even worse, a politician. You have no idea, right? For this you have to trust God and obey His directions, and when you do you need to trust Him for the fruit of your labours.

 

  1. TEACHER

 

As many of you have found out, in this Corona virus pandemic, you’ve all suddenly been elected teachers! But mum, you’ve always been a teacher…

 

Proverbs 1:8 (ESV Strong's)

Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching,

 

At the other end of proverbs, the excellent, praiseworthy wife is describes like this…

 

Proverbs 31:26 (ESV Strong's)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

 

So mums, we honour you today for your teaching, and pearls of wisdom, like…

 

Silence is golden, unless you have kids… Then it’s suspicious

Parenting tip- If you don’t know where your kids are in the house, turn off the internet and watch them magically appear

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shovelling the sidewalk before it stops snowing." —Phyllis Diller

"I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them."

 

 

  1. COMFORTER

 

Isaiah 66:13 (ESV Strong's)

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;

 

Whether it’s a skinned knee, a shattered dream, a broken heart or compulsory isolation, great mums are there to comfort you. Even if they felt their mums never comforted them, great mums still comfort those they love.

 

  1. ADVISOR

 

Even today at my age my mother is able to advise me, and I listen. Why? Because she has earned the right to speak into my life, and that’s what great mums do!

 

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV Strong's)

Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Mothers, like it or not, tend to have advice on everything. Now we all know the kind of advice mothers give, but I found a list of things you will likely never hear your mother say…

 

“Just leave all the lights on...it makes the house look more cheery.”

“Let me smell that shirt—Yeah, it’s good for another week.”

“Go ahead and keep that stray dog, honey. I’ll be glad to feed and walk him every day.”

“I know I said no, but if Timmy’s mom says it’s OK, that’s good enough for me.”

“Come home when you like, the curfew is just a general time to shoot for. It’s not like I’m running a prison around here.”

“I don’t have a tissue with me...just use your sleeve.”

 

How many of you know that, when facing choices in your life, many times your mother’s advice comes to mind. So mums, be careful what you advise your children, because they take it all in, even if they don’t appear to act upon it.

 

 

  1. COUNCILLOR

 

Proverbs 31:26 (ESV Strong's)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

 

Mothers, you have wisdom. It might be worldly wisdom from beneath, or it might be godly wisdom from above. As mums, you want to give the right wisdom to your kids.

 

ERMA BOMBECK said

When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it's a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.

Many great people, from Abraham Lincoln to Michael Jordon to Liza Minnelli attribute their success to advice their mums gave them.

 

  1. STEWARD

 

Great mums realise that they don’t own their children, they steward them. Many of you older mums are at this point right now. You bring children up the best you can, maybe teach them all about the Lord, but at some point you need to let them go, and they make their own choices, many of which you may not agree with. 

 

I don’t agree with all the decisions my kids make, but I make sure whthernibagreebowhtbthemmor not never diminishes how much I love them. One of the fallacies of our modern world is that people say if you love me you’ll let me. Listen, you can love someone and still disagree with them.

 

Mothers, you need to be stewards of your kids, then release them to the Lord. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, who had waited so long for a child, prayer so fervently for a child, when she had her first she dedicated him to God…

 

1 Samuel 1:27-28 (ESV Strong's)

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

 

Mothers, many of your hearts are breaking for kids gone astray, kids who have rejected Christ. 2 things, first stop blaming yourself. At some point your children make their own decision, and it’s not your fault. But secondly, never stop praying and believing for your children!

 

  1. PRAYER

 

A mother’s prayer has saved many a soul, so whatever you do, never give up on your children. Never stop praying for your children…

 

1 John 5:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

 

Mothers, your prayers are powerful and I know myself, when I was rebelling against my parents, I believe it was the prayers of my mother that kept me from harm and brought me back to God.

 

The prayer of mothers protect their children. Augustine, John and Charles Wesley, Hudson Taylor, Billy Graham and many other great men who changed the world for Christ had praying mothers.

 

  1. BELIEVER

 

And finally, never stop believing for your children.

 

Galatians 6:9 (ESV Strong's)

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

 

Mums want to believe in you, whether you believe in you or not. Mums see the good in their children, even if no one else does.

For example, Hitler’s mum Klara took him to church and wanted him to be a civil servant. Napoleon’s mum was married at 13 and accompanied him into exile on the island of Elba.  Osama Bin Laden’s mum wanted him to stop fighting the west and come home to Saudi like a good boy. Donald Trump described his mum as smart as hell and he said he's had trouble finding women to marry who compared to his her!

I read about Ted Bundy’s mother Louise, who loved her son so much that she refused to believe he was a killer, until a series of death row confessions of 36 murders put the matter beyond doubt. These mums saw the best in their children even when others saw them as tyrants and killers.

Mums believe in us when others give up on us. Mums always want the best for their kids and grandkids, as I bet every mum listening to this message does.

So mums, we honour you this day, in the midst of the greatest crisis most of us have known in our lifetimes, we honour you mums, and I ask you mums, please don’t give up on your kids, no matter how bad you might think they have become. 

One of the greatest church fathers in history owed his ministry and life to his mother’s faithfulness…

St Augustine’s mother was a godly woman who lived around 350AD. She loved her wayward son, and the young Augustine lived with a girl and had an illegitimate child, then followed this by joining a heretical sect for 9 long years. He refused to listen to her, and she was so distraught she prayed and prayed and God gave her a dream that settled her heart, and then a mother's faith checked in.

A short time after the dream Augustine came to Christ, and became one of the most significant church fathers of his generation! He was once lost, but then through a mother's faith and love, he was found.

My mother was a believer for me too! She believed that the Lord would use me, even when I was wandering far from His ways, and she prayed and believed even when I had hurt her and when she was discouraged!

Lord Shaftesbury was correct in his famous utterance, “Give me a generation of Christian mothers, and I will undertake to change the whole face of society in twelve months.”

 

MUM, YOU’RE PRICELESS!

Let me finish by reading you the words of a Tammy Wynette song from 1974

My little girl came into the kitchen this evenin',
While I was fixin' supper,
And she handed me a piece of paper she'd been writin' on,
And after wipin' my hands on my apron,
I read it - and this is what it said:

 

For mowin' the yard - five dollars,
And for makin' my own bed this week - one dollar,
And for goin' to the store - fifty cents,
An' playin' with little sister, while you went to the store - twenty-five cents,
Takin' out the trash - one dollar,
Gettin' a good report card - five dollars,
And for rakin' the yard - two dollars,
Total owed - fourteen dollars and seventy-five cents.

Well, I looked at her standin' there expectantly,
And a thousand mem'ries flashed through my mind,
So I picked up the pen, turnin' the paper over,
This is what I wrote:

 

For the nine months I carried you,
Growin' inside me - NO CHARGE,
For the nights I've sat up with you,
Doctored you, prayed for you - NO CHARGE,
For the toys, food and clothes.
And for wiping your nose, there's NO CHARGE,
When you add it all up.
The full cost of my love is NO CHARGE.

 

Well, when she finished readin',
She had great big old tears in her eyes,
And she looked up at me and said,
"Mama, I sure do love you."
Then she took the pen,
And in great big letters,
She wrote: "PAID IN FULL."

When you add it all up,
The cost of real love is - NO CHARGE

 

We can learn that lesson from Jesus. He laid His life down for you and for me, and the cost of real love was simply this… NO CHARGE.

You can’t buy salvation, and you can’t earn it. This Mother’s Day and every day, Jesus love and sacrifice is freely given… NO CHARGE.

Whether you are a mum today, or a child, you can have the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour. It’s a gift, it’s at no charge, but it’s a life changing event.

 

Mums, you need Jesus to be the mother He’s called you to be.  And some of you children, you’ve broken you mum’s heart long enough! It’s time to ask Jesus into your life, it’s time to make your mother’s prayers be answered!

John 3:16 (ESV Strong's)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Ps Darin Browne - Reset Part 3

Ps Darin Browne - Reset Part 3

May 5, 2020

We’ve  been sharing a series on how to reset your life. This current situation in which we live is the perfect time to hit the reset button, to clear the decks and start again and get back to basics. Sometimes we are forced to do this as a hard reset, where we face devestation and pain and loss to reset our lives, but right now we can do a soft reset, not back to factory default settings but by making a conscious choice to reset important values in our lives.

 

ACTIONS REFLECT PRIORITIES

 

Surprised to see an empty seat at the football grand final, a diehard fan remarked about it to a man sitting nearby. “It was my wife’s,” the man explained, “But she died.” “Oh! I’m very sorry to hear that,” said the man. “Yet I’m really surprised that another relative, or friend, didn’t jump at the chance to take the seat reserved for her.” “Beats me,” he said. “They all insisted on going to the funeral.”

 

One of the key things for me in this pandemic is resetting priorities. Our expose our, and our priorities expose our values. We might say something is important, but our priorities expose the truth as to whether it is truly that important to us.

 

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV Strong's)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

 

Truly we have seen that days are evil right now with this pandemic. We are not sailing along blissfully ignorant in our contented, brain numbed stupor, suddenly we have to reset what is truly important in our lives, and this reset must be reflected in our actions.

 

WHAT PRIORITIES WERE BEFORE

 

Just a few months ago, our priorities were so different. As Christians, we might claim to want to serve Jesus, but we spent much of our time living, working, investing, getting friends, getting things, getting money, getting ahead in life.  We were comfortable, but we were complaining and confused about what really is important in life.

 

Then came the corona virus, and everything was turned in its head. Many of us lost jobs, incomes and businesses, we all lost freedom as we knew it before, can’t touch, can’t hug, can’t stand closer than 1.5 metres, and toilet paper suddenly became a precious commodity.

 

Our priorities, which reflect our values and what’s really important to us, have changed.  This is our opportunity to reset them. Jesus spoke about this…

 

Luke 12:15-21 (ESV Strong's)

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

 

WHAT PRIORITIES CAN BE

 

Priorities reflect values, and we have before us a golden opportunity to reset our values, to reset what is truly important in life.

 

I was in a store this week and lent on a counter top, and the sales assistant nearly had kittens! The climate of fear is alive and well for the general population out there. She wouldn’t  even let me touch the eftpos machine to put my pin in for fear I might infect the keypad.

 

But our priorities can reflect something greater than this climate of fear.

 

Psalms 91:9-11 (ESV Strong's)

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—

the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you,

no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

 

We can have values and confidence that others don’t!

 

For years our priorities have been pushed and pulled and squeezed into the mould the world dictates to us, but today we have the chance to reset them.

 

WHAT FORMS YOUR PRIORITIES?

 

Every person has their own priorities and values in life. Our values set our priorities. It determines where you spend your effort and time. We pick up our values basically from what we are constantly exposed to – like our childhood experiences, our family upbringing, our education, our friends, our neighbourhood, our workplace environment, TV, the media, etc.

 

But at the end of the day it is we who choose and decide the source of our values.

 

Job 34:4 (ESV Strong's)

Let us choose what is right; let us know among ourselves what is good.

 

Every one of us are at different stages of life, and accordingly our priorities and values are different. What was important at age 15 is not the same as age 40 or age 70. We have to sift through and decide what’s number 1 in importance, then number 2 and so on.

 

So how are you going to decide what is really important & what is not? Well, the key here is how long is this important thing going to last in your life? If your priority is going to last for eternity, then it is really important. If it is going to last 60 years, that’s still pretty important. If it is going to last a few minutes or days, that’s shouldn’t be prioritised in the s a me way.

 

WHAT ARE THE WORLD’S PRIORITIES?

 

The world is trying to influence your priorities, to squeeze you into its mould.

 

Romans 12:2 (ESV Strong's)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

Here’s some things the world would tell you to prioritise…

 

1.      PLEASURE

 

The world tells us that our pleasure, doing what we want, is our divine right. The whole entertainment industry is build around our pleasures. Advertising is about stimulating and satisfying our pleasures. People often say, God wants us to have a happy life, so if sin makes me happy, if sex and drugs and booze and video games please me, then God must be ok with it.

 

That is simply not true. Last week we saw God is really ok with holiness, but not ok with your sin. So much so, He died to win you back from the consequences of your sin. Moses was described like this,

 

Hebrews 11:24-25 (ESV Strong's)

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

 

Sin is pleasurable, otherwise no one would do it! But we must not prioritise sin over holiness, our fleeting pleasure over standing for what is right.

 

There are consequences for everything we do and say.

 

Galatians 6:7-8 (ESV Strong's)

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

 

There are consequences for everything we do and say. Solomon observed this…

 

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (ESV Strong's)

And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

 

The world says prioritise your own pleasure, but it is foolish vanity. It’s time to reset it.

 

2.      POSSESSIONS

 

Another thing the world says is a priority is possessions, getting stuff. We have to have the best, the latest, the coolest. We don’t repair things any more, we toss them and get the new model. Those darned socks never get darned any more!

 

1 Timothy 6:7-10 (ESV Strong's)

for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.

 

Pursuing money and possessions might seem important in this life, and we all do it, but ultimately you are on a never stopping treadmill. Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat!

 

Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV Strong's)

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

 

2 boys watching a funeral procession, and one asks whose funeral it was. The other said, why it’s the local millionaire. Really, said the first bit, how much did he leave. The other boy replied, all of it. Shrouds don’t have pockets!

 

3.      POWER AND PRESTIGE

 

We all want influence, we all want popularity, for people to love us, but again, this is a fleeting, vane pursuit.

 

Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, showing us that the rich influential successful man finishes in hell for eternity. His wealth, power and influence meant nothing in eternity.

 

Mark 10:31 (ESV Strong's)

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

 

You can pursue and prioritise being popular, gaining influence and power here on earth, but ultimately in God’s economy it will be worthless!

 

Let’s talk about HOW TO RESET YOUR PRIORITIES

 

This Corona virus pandemic is our chance to soft reset our priorities in life. Remember, a soft reset is a choice to change with minimal pain, not a hard reset which results in devastating pain and loss. COVID 19 is a great time to reset our priorities… and our perspectives…

 

Charles Francis Adams, son of President John Quincy Adams and grandson of President John Adams, kept a diary. One day he entered: “Went fishing with my son today—a day wasted.”

 

His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: “Went fishing with my father—the most wonderful day of my life!” The father thought he was wasting time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. It was a difference in priorities and values.

 

The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know one’s ultimate purpose in life and to prioritise accordingly.

 

So here are some steps towards resetting your priorities in this moment…

 

1.      CHOOSE THE SOURCE OF YOUR VALUES

 

Destiny is not something that randomly happens to you, it is a series of choices. Make bad choices, you mess up your destiny. Make wise choices, God unroll the most incredible destiny for your life. It’s all your choice!

 

So the first step is to decide to see life from God’s perspective, and make His Word the source of your values, and basis of your priorities. Your choice…

 

2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV Strong's)

as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

So decide first to choose life, choose God’s way, God’s perspective, God’s priorities.

 

2.      TURN AWAY FROM THE WORLD’S VALUES

 

1 John 2:15-17 (ESV Strong's)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

 

The world is constantly trying to conform you into its image, what it wants from you, and what it thinks you should want from life.

 

Psalms 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

 

‘Turn my eyes away from worthless things’ would be a good verse to put on your TV set or computer screens.

 

3.      WEIGH THE CONSEQUENCES

 

As you determine your priorities, a great thing to do is to step back and get a wide angle rather than a telescopic view. You can then clearly see and weigh the consequences of your priorities.

 

Galatians 6:7 (ESV Strong's)

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

 

Let’s look at a few examples of consequences. Having an affair for example. A few moments pleasure, a small amount of time sampling forbidden fruit. Weight that up against losing your wife, your children, your friends, your ministry, half of your fortune, most of your self respect.

 

Stopping coming to church. You get to sleep in. Maybe catch up with a friend. But you lose spiritual connection with God, the ministry He has for you, the destiny He has for you. Eternal consequences in exchange for a sleep in.

 

MAKE THE CHOICE TO RESET YOUR PRIORITIES

 

Having done this, all that remains is a simple choice… I choose to realign my priorities with God. I choose life, God’s life, God’s priorities!

 

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,

 

Don’t walk away, don’t turn this recording off without making a decision. To delay, to think about it later, is a decision to choose your own way, not God’s.

 

WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?

 

Our priorities reveal what we value or treasure. Much of what the world prioritises is really dross or rubbish in eternity.

 

Don’t tell me Jesus is most important if you spend your whole life pursuing money. Don’t tell me you love your family if you have affairs and destroy it. Don’t tell me God is number 1 in your life if you never open His Word or pray. Our actions reflect our priorities, and right now we have the chance to reset those priorities and get them right, for now, for the future even for eternity!

 

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV Strong's)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

If you treasure something you will prioritise it. We concentrate on what we treasure.

 

IT’S TIME TO RESET YOUR PRIORITIES

 

Luke 16:15 (ESV Strong's)

God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

 

So what is really important to us?  Let me list some priorities most if us would agree on.  

 

My first priority is God, because God and God’s work will take me all the way into eternity. The second in my case is my family. The third in my case is church, and after that is work, finances, the home and so on. You can work your own priorities.

 

But right now is the opportunity it reset our priorities and get them right for the long run, for all of our lives and into eternity. And as we reset, we must ensure that our actions reflect what we say are our priorities, and we need to give more time to what is really important. This is not about asking you to make a mental ascent, we need a total change in lifestyle.

 

IT’S TIME TO RESET YOUR LIFESTYLE

 

This pandemic is your golden opportunity to reset your lifestyle. You can change your lifestyle according to your priorities, and what is the most important should get your maximum time while what is the least important should get your least time, otherwise you are going no where.

 

If I ask you is God important to you? Everyone will say yes to this. Then do you schedule time to be with God? Do you read his word? “Well, no pastor, I’m so busy, I can’t.” Do you give God’s work at least 10% of your income? “No, I need that for myself.” Do you spend time in the Word? Do you spend time praying, talking to God, developing a relationship with Him? “No, I am much to busy to do any of that.” You see, we say one thing but we do something else.

 

If your family is really important for you then you should think about spending more time with your spouse and children.

 

If your health is really important then how much time do you exercise, do you eat right?

 

Is financial security important for you? Everybody will say yes. Are you a materialistic person? Oh, no! I’m not a materialistic person at all.” Really? Is your debt load getting deeper & deeper? Are you buying things that you can’t afford? Do you have credit card charges that you can’t pay? Are you saving money? “No, I spend it all,” you say.

 

You see we all want a changed outcome but we do not want a changed lifestyle. As we reset priorities, we need to change our lifestyle! So as we finish, if you’re really serious about changing your lifestyle, here’s 3 areas that you are going to have to work on.

 

  1. Work on your schedule. Is your schedule consistent with what you say is important? Do you prioritise time for the things you say are really important, or are you spending time on things that you say aren’t important? You’re going to have to reevaluate your schedule.

 

  1. Work on your budget. “Am I spending the most money on the things that are really important, or am I spending the most money on things that I think are not important, on things that only last for a brief period of time? Are you tithing.

 

  1. Work on your Responsibilities. “Am I spending my time and effort with the responsibilities of my life or am I spending all my time being involved with things that aren’t that important to me?”

 

Ephesians 4:17-20 (ESV Strong's)

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—

 

This opportunity to reset our priorities means we must stop living like worldly people whose thinking is futile and values and priorities are misplaced. Understand what is important, put first things first, and change your lifestyle.

 

So, what is priority 1,2 and 3 in your life right now? I want you to pray with me and reset your priorities to a God’s priorities.

 

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.

Ps Darin Browne - Reset Part 2

Ps Darin Browne - Reset Part 2

April 27, 2020

Last week I began a series on resetting your life. The corona virus pandemic has provided us with an unexpected chance to actually hit the rest button, to not face the devastation of a hard reset but to soft reset our lives.

 

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.

 

Usually we run our lives at a pace, but for the first time in a long time many of us are forced to slow down and even rest a little. Forced to step back and take stock, and get back to basics.

 

Today I want to highlight 2 areas I believe God is asking us to reset, as individuals and as a body of believers… Faith and Holiness.

 

NOW FAITH IS…

 

Faith is something we Christians talk a lot about, but often do not get the opportunity to actually engage. This pandemic is an opportunity to reset this important, even pivotal area of our lives. The Bible defines faith like this…

 

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV Strong's)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

 

Everyone places his or her faith in something or someone. The Moslem puts his faith in the Koran and in Mohammed. The humanist put his faith in himself, a religious person in his own good works. None of these can save, not because they don’t have strong enough faith, but in each case the object of faith is wrong.

 

Our faith is only as good as the object in which we place our faith.  Our faith needs to be in Jesus Christ.

 

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

True faith is simple obedience to and believing God’s word in spite of circumstances or consequences.

 

In Hebrews, Faith is described in a two-fold way. It is the “substance of (assurance of) things hoped for,” and “the evidence of (conviction of) things not seen.”

 

Substance is in Greek HYPOSTASIS, meaning “sub stance”, literally  ‘to stand under or to support.’ So Faith is the foundation that gives the believer the confidence to stand. “faith is the confidence of things hoped for.” And it undergirds our entire life and experience.

 

George Muller ran orphanages for Street orphans in the early 1800s, and he lived by true faith.  One breakfast time there was no food. Müller confidently said grace, thanking God for food that simple wasn’t there. Immediately there was a knock at the door. It was the local baker who had woken in the night with a feeling that God was telling him the orphans had no bread. So he had risen at 2.00am to bake some bread for them. Shortly after this came another knock at the door. The milkman’s wagon had broken down outside the orphanage. He asked if he could give them his milk, so as to be able to empty and repair his wagon.

 

It’s this undergirding that gives us the unshakable conviction.

 

WHAT FAITH HAS BEEN

 

But the reality is, we live in a real world, a blessed world, and here in Australia we rarely have to exercise true faith. We have social security, governments that care for us, health provision, food and shelter.when we feel sick we take a pill, we don’t start to pray.

 

But in this pandemic our comfortable lives have been turned upside down. Comfortably successful businesses are in disarray, social behaviour has been morphed, and now all of a sudden we have to step out of our comfortable, cerebral version of faith into a true walk of faith. Suddenly faith becomes practical, real and in our faces as God uses these times to allow us to reset.

 

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.

 

He’s not saying works save you, he’s telling us that faith has to have substance… It has to be exercised to be real, otherwise it’s just theory.

 

Huge crowds gathered to see Charles Blondin walk on a quarter mile tightrope across Niagara Falls. He did it even on stilts, blindfolded, on a bicycle and even took a stove to the middle and cooked an omelet. On one occasion, Blondin asked the assembled crowd if they believed he could carry a person across Niagara Falls in a wheelbarrow. The crowd enthusiastically yelled, “Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!”

 

Ok he replied, who wants to hop in the wheelbarrow right now. No one did.

 

Faith has been largely theoretical for many Christians up until now. But because of this pandemic, suddenly we have the opportunity to step out in faith like never before.

 

WHAT FAITH CAN BE

 

You never know how valuable your faith is until it is tested.

 

In 1799, Conrad Reed discovered a seventeen-pound rock while fishing in Little Meadow Creek, North Carolina. He liked it and took it home and his family used it as a doorstop for three years. In 1802, his father, took the rock to a jeweller who identified it as a lump of pure gold, one of the biggest ever found east of the Rockies.   

 

Until its composition was determined, its value was unknown. Our faith is like that… God allows trials and tests and times like right now to determine the strength of our faith. Trials are not designed to hurt us, but too strengthen and prove our faith.

 

1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV Strong's)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

 

Abraham showed genuine faith, and it was sorely tested. God promised him a son and an heir, but he and his wife Sarah were old. But look at what  Romans says about his faith…

 

Romans 4:19-22 (ESV Strong's)

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

 

What we need now is to reset our faith. We don’t need fake it till you make it, and we don’t need religious theory. Right now we need practical, powerful faith, faith that's real, faith that isn’t full of fear and hysteria, and faith that doesn’t ignore facts but looks them in the eye and says, you might be bit, but my God is bigger!

 

FAITH AND WORKS

 

An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the old man had carved on one oar the word faith, and on the other oar the word works. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man said, “I will show you.”

 

He dropped one oar and plied the other called works, and the boat went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to ply the oar called faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again.

 

After this demonstration the old man picked up faith and works and plying both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, “You see, that is the way it is in the Christian life. Dead works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing.”

 

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

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 

It’s time to reset our faith and trust totally in the Lord.

 

IS HOLINESS A DYING COMMODITY?

 

For years now Christians have watered down God’s standards of holiness. We’ve let holy living slip, we’ve compromised our morals, and we have stood by silent as our society has celebrated blatant sin.

 

Romans 1:32 (ESV Strong's)

Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

 

Holiness is way out of vogue today… Tolerance and compromise are what’s being demanded. But I believe this Corona virus pandemic is our opportunity to reset holiness in our lives to what God calls holy!

 

WHAT HOLINESS HAS BEEN

 

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV Strong's)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

 

The Greek word for holiness used here is HAGIASMOS, which means consecrated, purified, and set apart for a noble use.

 

For too long we as believers have watered down our definition of holiness and lived nice, upright, reasonable and tolerant lives. But have we really been holy?

 

Our nation certainly hasn’t, and it has passed laws completely contrary to Scripture, with most of us barely raising a whimper. We have been told to be tolerant, to be accepting, to be fair. Any voice raised against the powerful media and lobby groups is labelled hate speech.

 

Listen, you can love people without agreeing with them. You can love a homosexuality without agreeing with their lifestyle. You can be holy and you can love at the same time.

 

But for t by e last several years we have been focussed on so many things in life that are not really God honouring. We talk about money, investments, tolerance, what we want in life, but we rarely talk about how we can become more holy and more Christ like.

 

2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV Strong's)

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

 

WHAT HOLINESS CAN BE

 

This is our moment. It’s time to get serious about holiness, starting with our own lives!

 

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV Strong's)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

 

In this pandemic, we can be the ones shining in the darkness. But we cannot shine if we are impure, sinful and compromised. If we have as much fear as the rest of the country, we simply look the same!

 

1 Peter 2:12 (ESV Strong's)

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

 

We can stand for what is right and true, and loves others even if we disagree with their lifestyle choices. We must have tolerance for people, but we mustn’t have tolerance for bad or evil or ungodly ideas!

 

We have before us a unique opportunity to reset our moral compass, and become once again a godly and holy nation. Sinful man who was strutting around promoting ungodliness only a few months ago is now cowering in isolation and fear.

 

At this moment the world doesn’t need a weak, insipid, spineless, watered down church compromising it’s values to keep the peace. Right now this terrified world needs a church that stands up and proclaims the Word of the Lord, not in compromise, but in all of its holiness!

 

Now, more than ever, we need to lead exemplary lives before our communities, lives that shine purity and light, not selfishness and insipid compromise.

 

HOW DO WE RESET FAITH AND HOLINESS?

 

So in this incredible moment in history, how do we reset faith and Holiness?

 

You cannot reset holiness if you don’t know what holiness is. And you can’t reset faith, if you don’t know who God is, because He is the object of our faith. So resetting these two areas depends on one thing… You need to know God and His Word more!

 

And what a time to draw near to Him! Most of us are isolated, we have time alone we never had before, and we have the Bible, and loads of great teaching online.

 

Listen, your faith and Holiness will increase in direct proportion to how close you are to the Lord. Holiness involves learning God’s standards and making a conscious decision to live by them, not the world’s standards…

 

Romans 12:2 (ESV Strong's)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 The more you know God, the more your mind is renewed and the more you will know and experience God’s perfect will in your life.

 

And faith is the same… It’s directly proportional to how well you know God.

 

Romans 10:17 (ESV Strong's)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 

This pandemic is your opportunity to open the Bible and read it and get to know God more intimately. You get to know God by reading His Word. Take the time to read and study and learn, because the closer you draw to Him,

 

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.

 

See in that verse how it works together? Cleanse your hands, purify your hearts, and as you reset holiness you draw closer to the Lord. And the closer you are to Him, the greater your faith.

 

So this morning I’m going to challenge you to stop right now and reset these 2 areas of your life. Faith and Holiness.

 

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV Strong's)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

 

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV Strong's)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

 

HIT THE RESET BUTTON NOW!

 

If you’ve never asked Jesus into your life, then this is the greatest opportunity you’ve ever had to do so.

 

The Bible says we have all sinned, and we need a Saviour, and Jesus is the only way to God. Take the opportunity now, wherever you are, whether you’ve done it before or not, to ask Jesus into your life. To forgive your sin, to give you eternal life and to give you a level of faith and Holiness in your life you’ve never seen before.

 

Come on, church, let’s reset these 2 pivotal areas together, right now.

 

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!

3 Preachers - Victorious Life

3 Preachers - Victorious Life

March 30, 2020

The climate of fear created by the Covid 19 pandemic is in full swing, but today at Ignite we are in for a isolated, but wonderful treat!

How to Live the Victorious Christian Life

That's right, we have 3 exciting preachers from our own congregation, bringing a message of hope and challenge in a tough time for us all.

So settle back and listen to three excellent and very wise preachers as they share their heart, and their insight, into the incredible journey that is living the victorious Christian life.

 

Or if you prefer to listen while in isolation, click the link below...

Dr Chas Gullo - The Kingdom of God

Dr Chas Gullo - The Kingdom of God

March 23, 2020

Join Dr Chas Gullo for a timely and challenging look at the panic and hysteria associated with the corona virus, and our response as Christians...

Ps Darin Browne - A Climate of Fear

Ps Darin Browne - A Climate of Fear

March 16, 2020

Over the last week we have seen fear run riot across our society. The corona virus, COVID 19, has ruined my potential holiday to Italy, but it has also single handedly plunging Europe, and indeed the world, into a recession.

 

In my life time I cannot remember hysteria like we have seen in the last few weeks. I’ve lived through 911, and I flew to Europe in September 11th 2001 in defiance of the fear of those around me. Today, in what is a genuine pandemic and global emergency, we have seen unprecedented levels of fear in the media and among governments worldwide.

 

Major sporting events have been cancelled, with no football in Europe, Asia or America. Concerts and festivals cancelled. In some places like Italy, schools, churches and museums are closed. Fear is everywhere, disrupting and controlling the lives of 7 billion people. But the Bible says,

 

Psalms 27:1 (ESV Strong's)

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

 

Make no mistake, the world is enslaved right now. A few thousand will die of the corona virus, but billions will suffer financially as a result of the fear and hysteria created around it. So today I want to look at a Christian response to the corona virus pandemic…

 

THE WORLD USES FEAR TO CONTROL

 

Let’s make it clear we are seeing a worldwide tragedy unfolding.

 

Fears about the corona virus have wiped out nearly 4 trillion dollars in the US stock market, with the biggest weekly loss since 2008. Many countries are in total lockdown, and cruise ships are floating Petri dishes. Many are afraid to go out of their homes. Life appears to be grinding to a halt! Fear controls us. But,

 

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV Strong's)

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

 

So let’s exercise a sound mind and look at the facts, so we can shine a light of hope into a world plunging into darkness. In all the mess, the hysteria, the fear mongering, this is our moment to shine!

 

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.

 

FACTS ABOUT COVID 19

 

Here are some facts you need to know about COVID 19…

 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that had not been previously identified in humans. The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia. In rare cases, particularly among those who are elderly, have compromised immune systems or severe respiratory conditions, it can be fatal. It’s rare, but if you’re the one, it’s bad.

 

Spread of the disease can be limited by washing hands, staying home when sick and avoiding infected people.

 

I understand the role of hand sanitiser in this, but I am still unsure of the role of toilet paper.

 

The corona virus is a mild flu. It’s not the plague, or a flesh eating microbe. Because it is hard to tell how many are actually infected, the ratio of deaths to infections is high, around 3.4%. But epidemiologists agree this is grossly over estimated due to the lack of testing and confirmed cases. They believe it is under 1%.

 

Let’s talk numbers. Around 5,000 people have died of the COVID 19 so far. In the last 12 months it is estimated that 650,000 died of the common flu, for which we have a vaccine. 33 times more died of common flu. The largest pandemic in history was the Spanish flu of 1918, which infected 1/3 of the planet’s population and killed between 20-50 million people worldwide, double what world war 1 killed.

 

But the media, seizing and sensationalising figures like 3.4% death rate have driven this incredible fear within which we now live. While some fear is healthy, much of it today is destructive.

 

What does fear actually do?

 

1.      FEAR PARALYSES

 

Psalms 143:4 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.

New Living Translation

I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.

 

The devil uses fear to paralyses you. Many people are so fearful they cannot act. Agoraphobics cannot go out of the house, clostrophobics have fear of small spaces, , acrophobics have fear of heights. Pediophobics have fear of dolls, decidophobics fear making decisions. Omphalophobia is fear of belly buttons, arachi-butero- phobia is fear of peanut button sticking to the roof of your mouth, and one we can all relate to is nomophobia, fear of being without mobile phone coverage. A moment’s silence for those on Vodaphone. My favourite fear of phobia is called Hippo-poto-monstro-ses-quippe-dalio-phobia: Fear of Long Words.

 

Fear can paralyse you and control and ruin your life.

 

2.      FEAR CONTROLS

 

People with phobia are controlled by their fear. The enemy wants to control peoples lives, and He uses fear to do it. Fear stopped me travelling to where I wanted to go, it may stop all travel. It’s stopped sporting and cultural events, and it is controlling how people live. It makes people buy toilet paper.

 

Romans 8:15 (ESV Strong's)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

 

People right now are slaves to fear, because fear is controlling their behaviour. Fear does not set you free, it enslaves you. Right now the whole world is being enslaved by fear.

 

3.      FEAR LIMITS POTENTIAL

 

Fear stunts your progress and growth. If you are fearful, you are afraid to step out and try something, so you miss opportunities to develop.

 

Joshua 1:9 (ESV Strong's)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

When you live enslaved to fear, your potential is limited. When you come to Christ, why should you fear, because your life is in His hands?

 

2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV Strong's)

for we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

People who let fear control and limit them are walking by sight, but we are called to walk by faith.

 

4.      FEAR CHANGES OUR FOCUS

 

What you’ll notice right now is that peoples focus is completely absorbed by fear.  What is everyone talking about? What is Facebook full of? Fear causes us to focus on earthly, immediate, fearful things, not one long term or important stuff. In a years time. Will you be afraid to shake hands or walk past toilet paper without buying it?

 

In this fearful climate, this is your opportunity to

 

Colossians 3:2 (ESV Strong's)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

 

To focus on loving and caring for people, not on your own preservation. Much of what people are currently focussed on is not fact, it’s sensationalised fear.

 

FEAR ITSELF

 

At the start of his presidency, Franklin D Roosevelt faced the Great Depression. People were starving, unemployed, destitute and without hope. At his inaugural speech he said these words, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.” I think these words are appropriate for right now, don’t you?

 

Yes, fear is powerful as we are currently seeing. It is terrifying, it is destructive but it is not our master, Christ is!  People in this world fear dying, but they also fear living. People fear not having enough money, but they also fear losing the money they have. They fear the virus, but also fear a recession.

 

A few might be infected with COVID 19, but all of us are infected with fear!

 

Peter experienced fear when he stood by the fire while Jesus was being tried.

 

Elijah had a mighty victory against the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel, then ran in fear of Jezebel.

 

Fear respects no one! Anyone can fall victim to fear. Even Timothy, with the Christian upbringing in the home, his training at the feet of Paul, and spiritual his gifts, fell victim to fear. Yet through it all God says,

 

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV Strong's)

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

The phrase “fear not” is used more than 80 times in the Bible, because God knows the enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit  our victories.

 

So I believe that right now God is calling us to stand without fear in a climate of fear! And as Steven Wright once quipped, “What happens if you get scared half to death twice?”

 

HOW CAN WE OVERCOME FEAR?

 

This world calls sinful behaviour normal, and attacks Christians without mercy. But this same world is now running scared, and I believe we have a unique opportunity to shine into their darkness…

 

Philippians 2:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

 

We can shine and overcome fear when others are victimised by it. How?

 

1.      WE HAVE GOD’S FAITH TO SEE THINGS CLEARLY

 

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV Strong's)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

 

Faith sees differently. Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. There was no one there. Without downplaying the seriousness of a pandemic, you do not have to swallow the sensationalised fear mongering that the media is peddling. The eyes of faith can see the long term, eternal and important things. Faith doesn’t lurch from crisis to crisis, it believes for greater things to come, and it offers what the others cannot offer… Hope!

 

2.      WE HAVE GOD’S POWER TO CONFRONT FEAR

 

An experienced paratrooper was asked how many jumps he had to his credit. He responded, "Twenty‑five." Then, with his head held low he added, “Actually, it was only one jump.” … “I only jumped once, the other twenty-four times I was pushed.”

 

Sometimes God will push us in order to help us overcome our fear. He wants us to know that the power to overcome is present not because we are great or better than anyone else, but because He is present in our lives.

 

Psalms 112:6-8 (ESV Strong's)

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

 

Why be fearful? We can face our fears with His faith and trust God. Others have nothing, others can be consumed by fear, but we can have faith!

 

God is like a father standing in the pool beckoning his child to jump into His arms. The child is reluctant. At last, the child sees the father’s large, strong arms and smiling face, and jumps. There is no way that father is going to let the child drown! That is how God wants us to trust Him in every situation.

 

God willing, Fiona and I are headed back to Fiji, where I did my scuba diving ticket. I’m going to meet the same people again. In my course, on my 4th dive, the locals had failed to clean a valve and it seized up, causing my air to stop when I was 18m underwater. I nearly died. But an hour later I went back to another dive. I chose to confronted my fear, and I will do so again this week.

 

3.      WE HAVE GOD’S LOVE  TO CAST OUT FEAR

 

1 John 4:18-19 (ESV Strong's)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.

 

We have love to cast our fear. But this is not our love for God - it is His love for us. You need not fear; He loves you!

 

You see, it is not just God’s strength that causes us to trust Him, it is His love! He loves us and even if we are going through hardships, He is working behind the scenes to bring about a good purpose.

 

Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

All things, even the tough ones, even the scary ones! When you truly know the God of all creation loves you, and cares for you, and will never let your foot slip, then you can face anything, any virus, any persecution, any fear!

 

Psalms 121:1-4 (ESV Strong's)

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

 

If you can trust Him to save your soul, you ought to be able to trust Him to take care of you. You are His beloved child.

 

4.      WE HAVE GOD’S SOUND MIND TO CONTAIN FEAR

 

Sometimes we know God, we eve trust God but our mind runs riot. As I plunge into the Emerald water and dive lower and lower, my mind imagines death and destruction, sharks coming out of the gloom, all kinds of fears! They’re not real, they are my imagination.

 

A large, old Bible, frequently used by Abraham Lincoln during the critical years of the Civil War, falls open easily to Psalm 34. One page of that Bible has a smudge where the President placed his finger often. It’s this verse…

 

Psalms 34:4 (ESV Strong's)

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

 

We face fear, just like the rest of the world, but let not your mind be troubled.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV Strong's)

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

 

Let me finish by examining this verse in the Greek, because we can gain valuable insight into how we should behave right now.

 

God gave us a spirit not of fear. The Greek word for fear used here is not the usual PHOBE, but it is DEILIA, which means timidity or cowardice. It is a call to, when faced with a fearful situation, choose courage over cowardice. To confront, stand firm and defeat the enemy, and not cower back in this climate of fear.

 

But what of the three descriptions of the Spirit we do have?

 

Power. The Greek for power is DYNAMIS, which is strength and power due to an inherent ability. It is used to describe powerful influence by wealthy people, the power of having and army or huge resources behind you and the power to perform miracles. It’s the word from which we get the English DYNAMITE. Explosive power. The power is not of your own doing, but you channel the power.

 

LOVE. The Greek here is AGAPE, unconditional, unrelenting, all triumphing love that knows not limits and no bounds. Perfect love comes from God and casts our fear.

 

Sound mind. In Greek SOPHRONISMOS, meaning self control or control of one’s behaviour and thoughts.  It means being sensible, not foolish, being balanced not alarmist and being Christ centred not crisis centred.

 

IT’S TIME TO STAND

 

When the world is running in fear, we can stand against the fear with power, love and a sound mind.

 

So, we must be sensible. Ease up on handshakes, hugs and missing, but let’s not fall into line and fall victim to the fear tactics of the enemy. The corona virus is big, but my God is bigger, and we can show the world how to live by faith when they are cowering in fear.

 

Now, there is one type of person here in this service, or out in the world, that has a right to be afraid. If you have never trusted Christ, you are one heartbeat from meeting God.

 

Hebrews 9:27 (ESV Strong's)

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

 

Without Christ fear has free reign, you are it’s slave and it is your master, but when you come to Jesus, His love and power creates a sound mind that does not live in fear.

 

1 John 4:4 (ESV Strong's)

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

 

If you don’t know Jesus, I want to give you the chance to come to Him right now and begin to conquer your fears whatever they may be.

 

Sometimes, even when you love God, you need reminding that He is greater, He is in you and He will protect and lead you. Whether you are fearful of the coronavirus, or struggling with fear of loss, loneliness, failure or any other fear, this is for you. Some of you in business look ahead with fear.

 

I have asked God for a special Anointing to conquer fear today. If you are fearful, come and let’s triumph over fear together. Let’s lay our fears aside and trust God completely.

 

So let’s finish with a promise from God, for you and I today as we face the threat of the corona virus…

 

Psalms 91:1-11 (ESV Strong's)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his pinions,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

You will only look with your eyes

and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—

the Most High, who is my refuge—

no evil shall be allowed to befall you,

no plague come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways.

Ps Darin Browne - The Weariness

Ps Darin Browne - The Weariness

March 9, 2020

We’ve been studying the Exodus, and relating it to the journey of life. I was going to look at murmuring, whining and complaining, but after the week I’ve had it might be a little too raw. So I want to talk about another aspect of the journey: weariness. 40 years is a long time to wander aimlessly in the wilderness, but many of us do this for years in our lives too!

 

Some of you here are weary. Feeling small. When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all. I’m on your side, when times get rough . And friends just can’t be found, like a bridge over troubled waters.

 

1.      THE JOURNEY IS LONG

 

Most journeys seem long, like a long and winding road, usually longer than you want. The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, which is around 39 years 11 months longer than they should have.

 

In our family, our long journeys started with a familiar refrain… “are we nearly there yet” before we reached the top of the driveway.

 

We are impatient to arrive, all of us. The length of a journey is entirely subjective. Kaileigh considers a drive to Buderim too long, and going to Sydney seems like a long journey until you go to Europe. Life is long, the journey is long, and so along the way we get weary, but remember compared to eternity this life is actually short.

 

James 4:14 (ESV Strong's)

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

 

Psalms 90:10 (ESV Strong's)

The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty;

yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.

 

2.      THE JOURNEY HAS CHALLENGES

 

Every journey has challenges. There are highs and lows, mountain tops and valleys, sunny days and stormy. Some here are going fine, but many I feel are facing dark, difficult times.

 

Psalms 23:4 (ESV Strong's)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

If you are facing challenges, even big challenges, remember that the Lord goes with you, leads you, guides you, upholds you and will ultimately bring you through.

 

3.      THE JOURNEY HAS SETBACKS

 

Kira and I were in Munich, and it snowed. Our flight was so delayed, we missed our connecting flight in London, and had to overnight there. They could not get us a flight to Brisbane, but they said they could fly us to Tokyo. We’ll take it! In Tokyo they could get us to Brisbane, but could get us to Cairns. We’ll take it! There were no seats to Brisbane, but if we went to Melbourne we might get some. We’ll take it! Finally in Melbourne we got a flight to home!

 

Many times we face setback in our journeys. Sometimes these setback are of our own doing, or someone close to you! That’s what the Israelites discovered. They sent spies into the Promised Land, but then chose to believe the 10 who brought a bad report. So they decided to form a coup against Moses, stone him and go back to slavery in Egypt. Had they believed Joshua and Caleb, they could have taken the land right then and there, but they refused, and rebelled. God said,

 

Numbers 14:32-34 (ESV Strong's)

But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’

 

Some of you have suffered setbacks in your journey because of someone else. It’s not fair, but it is life. Maybe you had a rough start in life, abused by parents, or maybe you married someone and it didn’t work out. Some have sinned, ignored God, or walked away.

 

If you’ve had setbacks in life, either because of circumstances, someone you loved and trusted or your own foolish, sinful decisions, then I have great news this morning. You can get those wasted years back!

 

Joel 2:25 (ESV Strong's)

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,

 

A set back is just a set up for a come back if you trust Jesus!

 

4.      THE JOURNEY HAS PROVISION

 

A long journey requires provision. On any journey need food, water, fuel. You need sleep. Today as your travel you need other essentials, like masks, gloves and toilet paper. You need a phone to get GPS and updates on the corona virus, which has killed 0.005% as many people as the common flu last year, so you can panic and fret like everyone else.

 

In the Exodus, they had no phone. No GPS. No toilet paper. But when the people were thirsty, God gave them water from the rock. When they were hungry, God gave them manna. When they got sick of that, God gave them quail. They didn’t say thank you, they complained and whinged and  whined while they dined.

 

Numbers 11:5-6 (ESV Strong's)

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

 

They said, Slavery wasn’t that bad… We use to eat leeks and onions and meat. Now all we have is manna breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s coming our of my ears. I have manna toast for breakfast, with manna mite spread, manna hotcakes, manna burgers, manna curry, pad manna, fillé  of manna, and with my Chai latte I have bamanna bread.  Hey man-na am I sick of manna.

 

If you’re tired on life’s journey, stop wasting your time complaining about what you don’t have and start rejoicing in what you do have. We have more stuff than ever before, yet we are the most ungrateful people ever.

 

Colossians 4:2 (ESV Strong's)

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

 

WEARINESS MAKES YOU…

 

The Israelites faced a long, wearying journey, made longer and wearier by their constant whining and complaining and by their own foolish decisions.

 

When you get weary you open yourself to a variety of emotions. When you get weary and tired you get stressed, overwhelmed and depressed. Weariness opens you to making bad decisions, and changes how you see things. You look back with rose coloured glasses and don’t see things properly.

 

Numbers 14:2 (ESV Strong's)

And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!

 

When you get tired and weary, sometimes death looks like a better deal than your life. Listen, it never is… Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  40 years was a long time to wander because of sin, but they did eventually make it through to the Promised Land. The Bible says, and it came to pass, it didn’t come to stay.

 

PERCEPTION AFFECTS EVERYTHING

 

Perception affects everything. How you see life, the journey, the troubles, the challenges, the highs and the lows, all are primarily affected by your perception.

 

They did an experiment one time… 2 boys, one an optimist, one a pessimist. The pessimist was locked in a room with ice cream, a TV and playstation. After an hour, he cried about ice cream melting, the game is too hard and TV just has news about the corona virus.

 

The optimist was locked alone in a room with a huge pile of horse poo. After an hour he was throwing poo a lover the room. With all this poo, there must be a pony in here somewhere.

 

Perception. That’s why Paul says,

 

Philippians 4:8 (ESV Strong's)

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.

 

You  can choose how you see things. You can choose to see the good or the bad. You can choose whether to

 

Colossians 3:2 (ESV Strong's)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

 

As you journey, you can choose to see the lack of food, water, or see the blessings…

 

Deuteronomy 29:5 (ESV Strong's)

I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.

 

40 years without a new pair of shoes might sound awful for some women, by God provides.

 

In your troubles, in your weariness, God provides for you. Stop doing your own thing, stop pulling away from God, draw near to Him and see, perceive the blessings and goodness you have already.

 

Hebrews 4:16 (ESV Strong's)

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

YOU HAVE CHOICES

 

One of the most pivotal parts of the Exodus occurred in the wilderness of Paran, where 12 spies were selected to check out the Promised Land. When they returned, they all agreed it was beautiful, productive, everything God had promised, but 2 said let’s go, but 10 chose to bring a bad report.

 

Now, when you hear a bad report, you face a choice… believe it, or not!

 

Numbers 13:32-33 (ESV Strong's)

So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

 

See what they are focussed on… Not the Lord, not His promise, but their own observations and fears. We seemed like grasshoppers, tiny, easy to stomp on, we predict disaster, the world falling in, corona virus, quick, buy up all the toilet paper!

 

But the people had a choice. Who to believe?

 

Numbers 14:2 (ESV Strong's)

And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!

 

CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES

 

Be aware that every choice you make, good or bad, has a consequence. You can choose to believe the lies, believe the worst, give up, say you can’t take this any more. You can leave the marriage, the church, the job, but there are consequences. The right choices bring life, they bring blessing. That’s God’s preference for you. The wrong choice brings curses and death.

 

Going into the Promised Land a generation later, Moses said this…

 

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,

 

HOW TO OVERCOME WEARINESS

 

So here’s the bottom line… Obey God, seek God, make the right changes and you can overcome weariness.

 

You can overcome weariness and make it. Even if the road is long, with many a winding turn.

 

Psalms 55:6 (ESV Strong's)

And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;

 

So let’s look at some practical steps to overcoming weariness, and many of you here are weary and flat and over stressed. So how do you beat weariness?

 

1.      GET SOME REST

 

My life has been overwhelmingly stressful of late. Finances, holiday, family, work and especially church, have drawn all of my energy, filled my entire headspace and sapped all my joy. I’m tired, I’ve slept 3 hours a night, I was miserable and almost ready to quit being a pastor. Then God reminded me of His call for Ignite, and simply said, GET SOME REST!

 

Matthew 11:28 (ESV Strong's)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

If you need rest, take a day off, take a caravan trip, take a holiday to Coronoville, or maybe just get an early night or two.

 

Sometimes when you are weary, the most spiritual and obedient thing you can do is to sleep and rest.

 

2.      GET SOME INSPIRATION

 

Over the last several months, under the most intense pressure and attacks of my ministry career, I needed sleep, yes, but even more I needed inspiration. That’s when I turned to the Word of God, the Bible reading plan, I read it, studied it, prayed it and I lived it. As the Lord said to Joshua,

 

Joshua 1:8-9 (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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

3.      GET SOME SUPPORT

 

Get inspired. Listen to sermons, podcasts, read Christian books, speak to strong believers, read God’s Word. What’s kept me going over the last few months of intense weariness is those around me encouraging me, believing in me.

 

My wife, our team here at Ignite, other pastors, friends new and old, what keeps me going is their encouragement and support.

 

Proverbs 27:9 (ESV Strong's)

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (ESV Strong's)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

 

Friends standing with you, like Aaron and Hur, can support your arms and hold you up when you need it. So reach out.

 

4.      GET PRACTICAL, TAKE IT STEP BY STEP

 

When you get weary you tend to hit overwhelm. Everything seems amplified. Generally the devil won’t hit you once then let you rest and recover, he hits you again and again while you’re down.

 

Matthew 6:34 (ESV Strong's)

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 

When you are weary and facing overwhelm, take each problem one at a time. Take each day one at a time. Don’t try and do it all at once, seek God and take on one giant at a time.

 

5.      GET FOCUSSED ON JESUS

 

What you focus on determines what you see, and what you see determines where you are going. The spies that gave a bad report only saw troubles, they saw giants, they saw themselves as grasshoppers.

 

Colossians 3:2 (ESV Strong's)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

 

If you are weary right now, start to take your eyes off the hassles and soul sapping troubles you have and fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.

 

Welly

 

6.      GET SERIOUS WITH GOD ABOUT YOUR FUTURE

 

God promises you that He has a plan and a future for you. Pray like you believe it! Live like it!

 

Jeremiah 29:11 (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.

 

But people forget the next 2 verses,

 

Jeremiah 29:12-13 (ESV Strong's)

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.

 

So in your weariness, in your weakness, seek God with all your heart for your future. He’s on your side when darkness comes!

 

COME TO ME

 

Galatians 6:9 (ESV Strong's)

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

 

Some of you here, you love God, you want to serve the Lord, but you’re tired, you’re down, you’re flat, you’re just plain weary. And  if you get enough knocks, enough set backs, enough criticisms, you can get tired of doing good. Today I’m like that… I’m tired, and I need a touch from the Lord. Maybe you do too!

 

Jesus knows you feel this way. He says,

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV Strong's)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

Jesus calls you today… If you are weary, sad, tired, fading, discouraged, down, then that’s the promise of Jesus right now.

 

Maybe you’ve been believing for a loved one to come to Christ, for a breakthrough, or a healing or a job. You still love God, you still believe, you’re just tired and weary. Jesus says,   Come, come and be refreshed.

 

Acts 3:19-20 (ESV Strong's)

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

 

When you come to Christ, it’s not all peaches and cream, unicorns and rainbows. There are still burdens, still trials, still attacks that can cripple you and depress you and make you tired and weary and just about ready to give up. Many give up on their dreams just before their big breakthrough.

 

But when you come to Jesus, your burden, your yoke, which once was ill fitting, rubbing, scaring, hurting, tiring, He now fits for you. His yoke is made for you. It’s still a yoke, there are still burdens, but they no longer rub or hurt or drain you. His burden is easy and light, and allows you rest for your soul.

 

So today, I know some of you, myself included, are weary. You’re not in sin, you’re not far away from the Lord, you’re just tired and weary.

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