Rick Oldland – Spiritual Warfare in the Church (Parts 1 and 2):

 

Suggestion is the enemy of integrity

The enemy finds many ways to whisper suggestion in our ears and sow seeds of doubt about people or ministries.

We need to recognise when suggestion is at work and cut through it looking for the truth as seen in the open and the fruit of those concerned.

 

Commissioning a “Name-Giver”

In your calling to see gifts in others, call it out and then send them, I believe God has a name for you.  That name is “Name-Giver”.

Now read this for context:

The Great Conductor

You are to look for the gifts God has placed in people.  These are the instruments they play in the orchestra.  Many people will have more than one instrument.

Some people will have never picked up one of their instruments.  You are to identify the instrument and then encourage them to practice on their own, with appropriate music (bible, studies, various materials etc) spending time with the composer and conductor himself and maybe someone who knows how to teach the instrument* (probably not you, though it could be).  As they improve look for opportunities for them to serve in small ways and then as they further improve continually encourage them to take the next step.  After a while they will be ready to serve in bigger ways, sometimes simply in a local setting but other times they will go on tour.  They will need to be sent.

*Don’t forget to look for teachers – people who already have a gifting but would be able to bring others on in that gifting.  Teaching would be an additional instrument (gifting).

Some people will have learned an instrument when they were younger and then given up.  They may well have let the busyness of life drive it out, or been bored by the music given to them or never had the opportunity to be taught well and play with others.  They may have lost belief in their ability and they may not think it worth while.  You are to ask the Lord what can unlock this latent gifting to give it a new lease of life.

Some people will have borrowed someone else’s instrument.  They are not bad, but really they were meant to be playing something else.  However, they cannot pick up their own instrument until they put this one down.  You are to gently encourage them asking the Lord how to help them put down one instrument so that they can pick up another.

Some people (maybe even pastors) will be a one-man band.  They have picked up all the instruments and try their best to produce a full sound but in the end they keep making mistakes and drop some instruments, however, they keep going because they believe the music will stop if they don’t – and they will have failed.  They are also tired and weary for all these instruments are too heavy.  You are to ask God how to help them take off some of the instruments, even allowing some of the musical arrangements to disappear for a while until those very same instruments can be given to others – or others can be allowed to fill the gap with their own instrument introducing new arrangements.  The music will go on.  It may just be quieter or simpler for a time, however, the possibilities for the future will be great as these people will be able to focus on the few instruments God has given them and their ability will greatly improve once they can focus their efforts.

Call out people’s gifting, name them, release where needed and then send.

The Beauty of a Liberated Spirit

It doesn’t matter what we look like, but there is so much beauty in a liberated spirit.

A liberated spirit is:

Full of joy

Free in the presence of God

Free from condemnation

Free from accusation

Cut-off from the lies of the enemy

Free to come before the throne

Free to express their heart

Living in the promises of God

Free to be their true self

Justified before a Holy God

Wholeheartedly grateful for deliverance

The Great Conductor

Live orchestral music has a majesty.  The conductor stands with his back to the audience, yet facing the orchestra.  He leads the way pulling together the individuals to make a collective beautiful sound.  Music that speaks to the heart.

Image result for orchestra

Now imagine the conductor is also the greatest composer.  That his music is the best the world has known.  That being invited into the orchestra is the greatest privilege for each musician.

Image result for orchestra cartoon

What a concert!

We are called to be part of that orchestra.  The name of the orchestra is Church.  The music is God’s calling, purpose and destiny for the Church.  The audience is the world.  The composer has some wonderful solo work as seen in creation and yet some of His greatest work is being played out before us right now.

But how is this Church a great orchestra?  Surely it often sounds like we are just tuning up?

Outside of the performance in quiet rooms behind closed doors the composer/conductor spends time with each musician, honing their skill and teaching them how to express their heart in the music.  When he brings them together their eyes are on Him, not the audience, and as they step into their identity, each playing their different instruments, expressing their heart, so the assembly comes together into a beautiful masterpiece.  The composer will at times bring out individuals for solos, or duets or specific arrangements, but all the time he pulls together everyone into a collective whole.  It is astounding, captivating and wonderful.  The orchestra is seen by the world and when that orchestra come together, keeping their eyes on the conductor/composer, then the world begins to see how wonderful He is.

There is such a great ALIGNMENT in the orchestra it is as though they are one.

His back is to the audience, but the audience wants to see His face.

Members of the audience start to say, can I join the orchestra?

The Vulnerable Jesus

Notes from sermon on Sunday 2nd Sept – Joshua

Everyone belongs to God – book

 

Phil 2:1-11 – Paul’s encouragement to be like Jesus

 

If you want to know what God is like take a look at Jesus.  Rethink what we think of God by looking at the sacrificial Jesus – pouring yourself out, emptying yourself.

 

The Christ who empties himself of power for the sake of love.

 

Jesus regarded his equality with God not to grab power because of His strength but rather as an opportunity to display the true nature of God.

 

In the time of Jesus people looked to Alexander the Great or Augustus Caesar as great examples to aspire to.  So this picture of Jesus, as a crucified criminal, would seem ridiculous.

 

What is it we aspire to in our day?

 

Incarnation (a god taking on human form) would not be unusual in those days.  However the examples of the Greeks or Romans were Zeus etc wanting to seduce a beautiful virgin or lead a powerful army.  So Jesus taking a humble form that is then lead to torture and death on a cross was at complete odds.

 

How can we express our thanks to God for the extent Jesus went to for our sake.

 

We are so used to hearing about the cross that it becomes mundane and familiar.  Let us not forget the extreme pain and humiliation Christ went through.  It’s vital we understand the shame and humiliation of the cross as well as the extreme pain.

 

One of the problems of modern Christianity is that we have exchanged the burden of carrying the cross on the back for a decorative symbol of honour we might wear on a necklace.  Consider the regalia of bishops in all their dress in high churches.

 

It’s impossible to obey God if you are preoccupied by honour or status.  Jesus says real leadership isn’t concerned about status or position.  It is found in serving those in need.  Because Jesus didn’t have any regard for status or honour those in authority had no power over him.

 

If we want to be great in the Kingdom then take up our towel and serve.  Matt 25, As much as you did for the least of these you did for me.  Put on the humility and vulnerability of Christ expressing the heart of God.

 

Joshua then showed a clip from the film, The Passion, with the backing track, “You chose the cross” by Martyn Lazell.

 

 

Finding the Way Home

To explore from ODB on 3rd Sept.

Study deeper the link between comfort and suffering.  Link to experience with Lampa

Finding the Way Home

 

It’s better to give than receive …..

I was reminded of something God has shown me historically in the last week.

I have always taken the phrase “It’s better to give than receive” as a given.  It is something I have always accepted as good advice and a statement of truth.  And I still do.  That is not what God showed me!

For more on the phrase see:

Acts 20:35

10 Reasons why it is more blessed to give than receive. (this is an excellent encouragement to give and worth further study)

Did Jesus say it?

So, what was it I was reminded of?

It’s better to give than receive …..

But don’t steal the blessing from someone by refusing to receive what they want to give you.

Be grateful and let them know.

Don’t let pride get in the way of blessing.

Note that God loves to receive our gifts to Him!

Faith and Vulnerability

This could have just been Vulnerability, or The Importance of Vulnerability. A big theme going forward is going to be bringing down the walls of fear and unforgiveness. Bringing down the walls we put up to protect ourselves from others. The same walls which separate us from others. Unity requires it. When the walls are down we are vulnerable. However, we can instead put on heavenly garments (Col 3:12) and the armour of God (Eph 6:10-17)