Friday, December 28, 2012

the Wine

By Odon Bulamba

People from overseas love wine from NZ – not only because NZ has the best grapes but God gave NZers the best brain for invention, for example NZers were the first to fly an aeroplane (although America believe they were). People from overseas have given respect to NZers and it’s a blessing.

“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22

New wine into an old container will result in both the wine and the container being lost. When making wine it requires fermentation – the juice becomes angry and changes shape and smell. Yesterday it tasted sweet and tomorrow it tastes sour. The wine continues to change and can be kept on shelves for many years and can still be drunk if it has been kept in the bottle – but not if it is kept in a wineskin.

We NZers are like wine – God has given them an intelligence that is growing bigger. It used to be China but everyone is heading to NZ (e.g. Weta productions - the Hobbit) and there is a secret behind this: what does God want for NZ?

A new wine in an old container results in the loss of both the container and the wine. We as Christians don’t have anything to lose – we are only here to gain. God gives us the best position to be successful in everything and to enjoy whatever God has given us. If I have zero money, I’m successful. If I have more money, I’m successful. If I’m hungry, I’m successful.

We Christians think that success is when we find what satisfies our desires and this is what happens when you put the new wine in the old container: lose everything. For example, if I give you $5 million, you won’t sleep, you will lose control and be afraid of murderers and thieves. If someone gives you a Bible which is eternal life, you won’t even care if someone steals it, yet if you want to be successful for God, you need the Bible.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Mathew 22:37

God has given the church a mind (head) which is the most important part of life because the body follows the head. It has eyes and the body understands what it sees. You can think, smell, hear and the mind controls all of that. If your mind is the centre and that is why God wants you to love Him with all your mind. My heart brings ideas but my mind decides.

Our best weapon as Christians is our mind and it is written 92 x in the Bible. If you have intelligence, everything that surrounds you will run away. Solomon asked for intelligence and wisdom, not material things. He was the best king ever on the earth and he had everything. Your mind can make you foolish or wise.

We were given authority to cast out evil while satan doesn’t have any power to cast us out. That power comes from God and when satan tells you to steal, your mind can say no. God helps us to think before any situation. The baby comes out head first and we place crowns on a person’s head meaning the head is important and we have to know how to use it.

There is a season to make wine where you work hard taking care of what you have planted. Even after harvest, the workers continue to work hard to produce wine. On the wine bottle, the workers don’t write their own name but they write, “made in NZ”. But for us Christians, whenever God blesses us with something small we have to take the glory. For example, if I pray for healing for someone and they are healed, I will testify how I prayed and forget to mention Jesus.

The first commandment in the Bible is to glorify God only. If you leave your Bible behind, your mind will tell you. God has given you enough intelligence for every situation. Israel was given enough manna for each day and the Israelites didn’t have to store any. We are very intelligent in material things but not in spiritual things.

Our life is short. The farmer knows the harvest season will end soon and he works hard so he doesn’t lose the grapes. NZers have a natural ability to work for a short amount of time and produce something great in that time.

Mathew 16:23, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

We should have the things of God in mind. We have to ask ourselves if our decision is a good one or a bad one. Some people are pioneers of satan and they push people to sin or push people to lose their joy. Christians are children of God, new creatures and if we sit somewhere without moving we will ferment like old wine and whoever tastes us will find us bitter. This is when people can’t even tell you are a Christian.

The manna means that God’s grace is enough. We don’t have to say we are hungry spiritually because God has given us His manna and we don’t have to tell people we forgot to read the Bible or to pray or tell God we are weak because His grace is enough. Be careful not seek your own glory. Act as a Christian, love God and yourself and share what you have with others. Before to pray for yourself, pray for others.

My mind is a I know how to use it? Have I trained my mind to be ready for attack? When satan comes do I surrender or do I fight?

“So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.” Ecclesiastes 7:25

If you want to use your mind as a Christian, you have to seek knowledge and know what is good and what is bad, who is God and what you should or shouldn’t do and ask questions like, ‘what will I gain if I do this? What is God’s glory in this?’ We have to remember we are here today but tomorrow we will stand in front of God. We have to use our mind properly to feed others and to pray for others and to lead our actions correctly.

NZ is blessed because NZers have a big heart and they give and God gives back. NZers are completely humble and everybody lives a simple life. They respect authority and God but NZ need spiritual light. How do we Christians help NZers spiritually? What do we do with our minds to help NZ? God fulfils dreams so tell God what your dreams are for yourself and the nation of NZ and your dreams to help others and to glorify God.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Take Hold

By Colleen Podmore


Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? What are you going to do differently in 2013? Be more patient, less angry, more forgiving. Make a new friend?

In Phil 3:12, Paul says, “but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Paul has been saved from the penalty of sin, that was finished at the cross and now he is talking about what comes after that, in terms of his spiritual life. He doesn’t sit back and ride out the storms, waiting to go to heaven. He doesn’t just ‘cruise’ through life, one year following the next. He ‘takes hold’, he makes plans, he decides, he has a strategy, he follows through. These are action words, doing words..... Paul presses on to ‘take hold’, he is not going to let slip what he has. He is not going to loose his gifts through lack of effort. He is not going to neglect his devotion to God.

Matt 13 is the beginning of the parables. Parables are stories that compare and illustrate a spiritual or moral truth indirectly through comparing the truth to everyday events. There are about 30 parables in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but none in John, This is how Jesus taught the crowds of people that came to him.

Why did Jesus speak in parables? (Matt 13:10). People were following Jesus, but they weren’t seeking God, they just wanted the thrill of seeing the miracles. Nothing was changing in their lives. While the parables were easy to see on the surface, because they easily related to everyday life, they tested the sincerity of the hearers, who had to ask for further clarification. So it was a very effective way of teaching crowds of people truths that Jesus without playing into the hands of those who opposed him.

Matt 13:13 “This is why I speak to them in parables...Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand’ It seems a bit harsh – how can you blame people if they can’t understand. I think the point being made here is that they don’t want to see or hear the truth. Another way of reading this verse is, “though even though they see (seeing), they do not want to see, though even though they hear (hearing), they do not want to hear” The crowds followed Jesus, but only a few listened and changed their lives.

Jesus said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” Matt 13:11. There was a clear separation of people in the crowds. Not all were there to find God. Be careful of crowds.

I’m sure we are all familiar with the parable of the Sower (Matt 13:1-23). The seed is the message of God. The path, the rocky soil, the thorns, the good soil represents our lives - people’s lives; believers, and unbelievers, everyone. Often this parable is used to illustrate what happens in an unbeliever’s heart which could well be true, but what about us, believers in Christ, could it also apply to us?

Let’s take the situation of the seed that falls on the path, which the birds come and snatch away. How many times have I heard a message from a servant of God and thought that’s really great and then a day later it’s gone and nothing has changed in my life? How can we ‘take hold’ of the messages we get? We could take notes, ask other’s who were there, speak with the messenger, asking for clarification. Ask for notes. Look at the website. Try and find just one thing for our lives.

Mark Hall from Casting Crowns suggests we ask ourselves these questions when reading the Bible and perhaps these are good questions to ask ourselves when we are listening to a message.

“What are You showing me about You? What are you showing me about me? Is there anything to take out/add in? A promise? What characters am I like?” Remember the word of God is like a mirror (James 1:23), also we need to be like the Bereans! (Acts 17:11)

Hold Fast

This verse in Deuteronomy is a promise that God made to the Israelites, but could also apply to us today “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow –to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to hold fast to him –then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.” Dt 11:22,23

Do we want to be victorious? We must take hold of what we have been given and secondly we must hold fast to what we have been given.

If we look at the parable of the Sower again we can see in the second example that a person can quickly fall away if they don’t have a good theology about suffering. Because we will all suffer, the question is what will our response be? At our last Sunday service, Robbie spoke to us about what we can expect to experience as Christians. How at times God can seem quite distant. He also gave a little handout. Have you read it? I thought it was so valuable, that I’ve stapled it in my notebook, along with the main points of his message. When we suffer, do we fall into despair or depression because we don’t have a deep enough theology to cope with the situation? Here are 6 reasons why we suffer (see The Distant God) and what our response could be. Let us hold fast to God!

The third example Jesus gives us in the parable, of what we can experience as Christians is to do with the cares of this world. Worry and anxiety can easily take away our peace and joy. Let us hold fast to God’s promises. Let us take hold of our situations and turn the situations around, putting our faith and trust in God who we can’t see but we know we can rely on. Do we recognise when worry and anxiety take hold? What are our strategies? What verses have we memorised? When in a fix remember Phil 4:6 and be thankful.

Took Hold

The reason we can be victorious is because He has taken hold of us. He came to earth to bring his kingdom, glory to his name, but he was rejected, abandoned by everyone, even his heavenly Father, and crucified on a cross so that we might be called Sons of the Living God! He took hold of our situation, He acted, He overcame!

Psalm 18:16, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me”

Psalm 73:23, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand”

Don’t Hold back

Isaiah 54:2, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back...”

So this coming year, let’s press on to take hold of what we have in Christ, holding fast to what we have because God has taken hold of us. Don’t hold back, we want our lives to represent the good soil in the parable of the Sower, people who hear the word of God and understand it, sharing it with others, letting it change us, growing in faith and knowledge, soaring on wings like eagles and producing a good crop/fruit – love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22), yielding a hundred, sixty, thirty times what was sown.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wisdom Part II

By Hayley Boud
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, By deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom…the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, Then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, Full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” James 3:13, 17


“Let him show”
The verse says that we should show our wisdom by the actions we do in “humility”. So we don’t have to tell people we are wise, they will discover it by themselves through our good actions. They will see by your wise decisions, by your transformed life, by the words you choose in everyday situations and they will discover you are wise without you having to tell them.

“Good life”
It’s not just the deeds we do that need to be good but our whole life: our character, our personality. A good life is someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit and this is proven by the good fruits they possess, “love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, goodness, gentleness and kindness Do my actions reflect wisdom or foolishness? Does my life reflect the fruit of the Holy Spirit?

What are our deeds or works? The bible says that faith without works is dead/useless (James 2:20,26). For example, if I’m the leader on Wednesday, I know that if I spend the time reading the Bible, meditating and reflecting on a particular verse and working out exactly what I will say, my works will prove how wise I am because I will lead with confidence and I’ll have something to say that has depth and meaning.

“Wisdom that comes from heaven”
So what is the wisdom that comes from heaven? It is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”. This is the wisdom that comes from heaven.


According to the Greek dictionary pure means not selfish or proud, free from defilements or impurities. For example, pure gold is only gold, nothing else, no impurities. What can defile us or what are our impurities....sin....negative thoughts, judgements, selfishness, rudeness.

Mathew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure for they will see God”.

Wisdom that comes from heaven (not wisdom as the world thinks of wisdom) doesn’t have any impurities: it won’t have any selfish desires or biases and it won’t cause someone to stumble, it won’t be motivated by self-interest or pride, it is humble and clean of sin.

For example, my neighbour is having a party and playing loud music, so I go and ask him to turn down the music but am I thinking about myself or the neighbour? If I were going to see my neighbour because I care about him and I want help him in some way..good..but if my motivation is my own desires...not so good.

So if I believe I am wise because I am clever or people have told me I am wise....I have to ask myself, “is this wisdom from the world or from heaven?” and the only way to know that is to ask myself whether my decisions or my heart is pure.

Wisdom from heaven is “Peaceable” which means it brings about peace. Wisdom from man doesn’t always bring peace but sometimes causes fights or jealousy or complaints or anger or revenge. I hear people all the time thinking they are wise with their words of “wisdom” but their words only destroy, they don’t build at all. Most of the time these people create destruction with their words and have no idea what they have done because they are too proud to recognise it. They think they are so clever and they genuinely think they are helping but they are not bringing peace to the situation at all and most of the time they make a situation worse.

e.g. one time I told a friend in confidence about a situation that happened to me in a church prayer group I was going to. I confided in my friend believing it would be kept between me and her. In her ‘wisdom’ she went and talked to the prayer leaders to find out their position. This destroyed any chance of me being able to return to the prayer group as the leaders found I had no discretion and could not keep my mouth quiet and rightfully thought I should have talked to them without disclosing the fact to others. It also destroyed my trust in this friend and I never ever confided in her again. She believed she was wise because she thought she could get to the bottom of the issue and sort it out but she proved she was foolish because revealing someone’s secret is to bring war not peace. We have to ask ourselves in each situation...will my decision to do this help to bring peace or will it just cause more disharmony?

Solomon is a good example – he took the baby and said to the two mothers who were fighting over who the baby belonged to, “I’ll cut it in half so you can have half each”. When one woman said, “no, she can keep the baby, don’t cut it in half”, everybody knew the baby must belong to her as she spoke as a mother would. Everybody was happy with Solomon’s intervention and it brought peace on every side. That’s true wisdom, from God when we are able to bring peace into a situation.

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” Mathew 5:9

We know that the gospel of peace in Ephesians 6:15 is referring to salvation because it brings reconciliation (peace) between us and God, and therefore peacemakers bring peace between God & those around us and between people and each other.

Other versions say “Peace loving”: some people are the opposite of peace loving. Some people love to disturb and bring annoyance wherever they go and they purposefully disturb the peace. I think of Paul Henry on tvnz who some people just hate because of that while others find it entertaining. Of course, it’s good tv but it’s not good in reality to be disturbed and annoyed. As Christians we should try our best not to annoy others and be sensitive to those around us and do our best to keep situations peaceful. If someone is easily annoyed, then don’t do the things that annoy them.

“Considerate” or “Gentle”
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” 1 Thessalonians 2:7

A mum will bathe her baby very gently, washing away the dirt very softly and kindly, she doesn’t scrub hard or the baby might get hurt and she holds the baby carefully in her arms and won’t let the baby fall or drown. That is what a wise person does for others. They hold people in their hands and care for their souls with great care and gentleness. When the person is in a mistake they find the right way to help them, gently and softly so they can be cleansed but not harmed. A wise person never points the finger, “you are this” but talks kindly and through conversation helps the person to discover for themselves.

Eg. a worship leader once told one of the back-up singers to smile more when she sings which went down like a lead balloon. The person felt very discouraged because it was like a finger being pointed at her and it was like she was being told she was not doing a good job. Immediately the back-up singer became defensive, “I did smile”, “no you didn’t”, “yes I did” and it became an argument and then the worship leader said, “even the pastor said you didn’t smile”. Now the pastor is involved...where is wisdom?

A better strategy would have been for the leader to say, “you look so stunning when you smile” and this would have encouraged the back-up singer to smile more. This is a good strategy because when we help someone without pointing the finger...they can much more easily accept and they are cleaned without scrubbing.

Anyway, is it a sin not to smile? Sometimes people pick the wrong battles. They focus on the unimportant and leave what’s really important. If not smiling isn’t a sin...then is it really worth destroying a person’s joy? That back-up singer left the worship team stating that she was too busy but I’m sure if the worship leader had been more wise, the back-up singer would not have left.

Sometimes a wise person doesn’t say anything at all, they might just observe and pray and the person might discover without having to be told. I have seen this happen so many times. I have seen a person in a mistake and I have decided to wait and I won’t say anything until I see them make the mistake more than three times. Usually they fix the problem themselves without me having to say anything.

Proverbs 15:1 (written by the wisest man ever), “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger”.

I Corinthians 4:21, “what do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip or in love with a gentle spirit”.

What would you prefer? Therefore, whatever I would prefer...I should do for others. This takes time and effort because we must first pray and ask God for wisdom and then we have to seek a very good strategy and then we have to remember to take small steps, slowly, slowly lead people to righteousness...not to expect people to change everything all at once.

Being considerate means we shoe concern for others and genuinely care about them, putting ourselves in their shoes and thinking of them first. This is to show true wisdom. If I am not able to put myself in the shoes of others, then I don’t have true wisdom that comes from heaven and if I’m not able to find good strategies to help people to mature in Christ with kindness and gentleness then I don’t have wisdom from God.

Next time we will cover the rest of the verse, “submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”. For now, just remember that we want wisdom from God which is first of all pure (without sin, pride and selfishness), it is peace-loving (bringing peace between people and God and people and others) & gentle/considerate (caring for other’s souls, cleaning them softly without harsh words or actions).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Standing Firm in Distressing Times

By Peter Thomas (summary only - 4th November 2012)

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness".

1. Don't be alarmed. It will happen - Jesus will destroy evil - there is No doubt.

2. Don't be deceived. Satan likes us to focus on him. Either too much or not enough. We have to be careful as he is a lion but don't need to give him special place or extra attention or give him glory when things go "wrong". Satan is doomed to destruction. Isaiah 14

3. Don't forget God is in control.
The rulers of this world are not in control but God.

Christian kindness and gentleness is greater than satan's strategies. We need to be approachable and in the world penetrating it - not on top of it or separated. Satan can't reproduce the Christ character.

4. Don't forget who is in control of your life. Jesus must be Lord of my life.

Friday, November 23, 2012


By Angela Bhandal

Suffering – what is this? Suffer/suffering: to undergo something painful or unpleasant, whether a physical injury, emotional pain, grief or loss.

Mentioned 34 times in my Bible concordance Not really a topic that is talked about much because often it is deeply personal and maybe it’s something that is not well understood amongst Christians; also we as humans don’t really like to suffer so we might try and avoid it. However, the Bible paints a different story about suffering and actually how normal it is in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.

Question: In what ways can we suffer? When did this suffering have a starting point for humans?

The fall of man found in Genesis 3:1-24 We can see that suffering entered into human existence when Adam and Eve’s spiritual eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked – this bothered them to the point where they hid from God. Separation – Sin – Suffering. Even though they were tricked or deceived by Satan they were the ones that ultimately disobeyed God. And because of this they were about to experience suffering.

So the consequences we read about include Adam and Eve experiencing both physical pains, in the labour Adam had to exert to now make a living from the now-cursed soil and in Eve’s childbirth; also mental anguish as one of their sons murder another. Their story established the biblical perspective that suffering is a consequence of man’s broken relationship with God and the foolish choices that human beings make. So we can see that suffering and sin go hand in hand.

But do not be dismayed my dear friends because even God can use suffering to help produce something good and of great worth in us. When a woman is pregnant she can really suffer and have a hard time and when that time of labour is there for the baby to be brought forth or produced, it really is a time of great suffering – pain, anguish, fear, hopelessness, the feeling of dying but not quite – you live to tell about it!

Women suffer greatly when giving birth. But what is so amazing, is that as soon as the baby is born, the pain is gone and you forget what you have just gone through. You are now marvelling at this new life that you are now cradling. The sheer delight and overwhelming love and joy you feel towards your newborn baby makes all that you went through worthwhile. It is also a time of great relief that the pain and suffering is behind you. So just as childbirth ends not in death, but in the introduction of a new life into the world, so human suffering is intended to renew rather than destroy.

There is one story in the bible that speaks deeply to my heart regarding human suffering and that is the story of Job. This book explores the particularly difficult problem of why the righteous suffer. Job is described as blameless and upright. His suffering cannot be ascribed to personal sins; Job truly is a victim. His suffering is caused by the vindictiveness of Satan, who seeks to embarrass God by causing Job to curse the Lord. What blows me away is Job’s response in all of this.

After receiving the news that all 10 of his precious children has been crushed to death, he falls to the ground and does something extraordinary – after tearing his expensive gown and shaving off his beautiful hair, he falls to the ground in worship. Let’s read that now. How proud must God have been towards his servant Job at that moment? How humiliating for Satan. And we know that Satan pressed a second time for another go at Job. What could be worse than losing a child, let alone 10 of them? And we know that God once again allowed Satan to visit Job and inflict his skin with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

And in all of this, Job did not sin in what he said. He accepted good from God and also trouble. What an amazing attitude to have. If we put ourselves in Job’s shoes, how would we feel towards God? I think I would have many questions staring with “Why God?” We are so blessed to have this story to learn from and the viewpoint by which we see this story unfold. We have a unique perspective because we already have the answer to the big “why” question.

We know that it is a test for Job brought about by Satan’s accusations against God regarding this blameless and upright man. And I really believe that this book can help us when crossing difficult and painful situations that cause deep suffering in our lives. We can be encouraged that God knows that we are strong enough in Him to endure whatever hardship it is that you are facing. Maybe like Job, we are being tested to see what really is in our hearts and what our attitude will be towards suffering.

Remembering that what Job was crossing was a test ultimately from God and that all of heaven was watching. Maybe God also wants to show to Satan that this child will not curse me but continue to honour and worship me. We must also remember that now matter how difficult or painful the situation is that we are in, God is still in control. His grace is enough. His faithfulness is enough. His eternal love and compassion is enough. Sometimes when things don’t make any sense at all, all God wants us to do is to trust Him. You know, Jobs story doesn’t end at the point where his suffering was great. Job’s story ends with God making him more prosperous again and giving him twice as much as he had before. The Lord blessed him with another 7 sons and 3 daughters.

Do you think this took away the pain of him losing his other children – no. But all these things that God restored unto Job, helped to lessen his pain and suffering. Even when things are restored, suffering can still be there but its intensity is less. Over the course of Job’s long and fruitful life, he would have found great joy and gladness with his new children and their offspring but I don’t think he would have ever forgotten his children that passed away in tragic circumstances.

Suffering is part of a normal Christian life. If we have never experience suffering and hardship, you should be asking yourself ‘why?’ Our saviour was a man who was familiar with sorrow and suffering (Isaiah 53:3).

In 1 Peter 4:12-19 Peter talks about suffering for being a follower of Jesus Christ. He tells us to not be surprised at the painful trials we face but to rejoice because one day it will all be worth it – that is when we reach heaven! Hallelujah. Be assured that no pain or suffering can follow us there. It will be how it was in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve walked with their creator. So it will be with us.

So if you are suffering deeply in your heart, or in your body, maybe with a loved one – whatever it is be assured that God is trying to build up your character. Romans 5:3 say that “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope…” All these character traits will help us to resist any attacks from the enemy and help us to stand firm and continue to worship God just as Job did not matter how difficult your circumstances may be. Amen

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Tabernacle

By Hayley Boud

What significance does the tabernacle/temple have for us today? We are the temple of God. God came down on the tabernacle/temple and dwelt there and met His servants there. His presence was felt and seen there. We have the presence of God in us and it is not only felt and seen by us but by those around us as they see the love that is in us and the way we are transformed and changed day after day.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Also, the church is God’s dwelling place. “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22

It can also represent heaven where God dwells. “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation”. Hebrews 9:11

What does the bronze alter mean for us today? This is a symbol of Christ’s cross, where Jesus offered Himself up as a ‘whole burnt offering’ to God and only He could do so because He was the only one without any blemish (He is pure).

‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD. You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. You are to slaughter the young bull before the LORD, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” Leviticus 1:1-5

What does the laver represent? This is where the priests washed before entering the Holy Place or approaching the alter. Therefore, we must be clean before coming into the presence of God which is why we always have the step of repentance when we meet at our prayer meetings and why we must always remember this step when we are at home. Before to pray, before to read the Bible, before to worship God, we must take a few seconds to say sorry for anything that has made us unclean and we have to ask God to forgive us.

We need to take it seriously as Aaron would have. He would not have entered the Holy of Holies without being clean. He knew God would kill him. We need to be that serious also and remember we are meeting with GOD! It’s not a joke, it’s a time to be serious when we come next to God. Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” John 13:8-10

The golden lampstand Christ is the light of the world and we also are called to be children of light to this world. "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:15 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” Mathew 5:14

The table of the bread of the presence or showbread Jesus is the bread of life and the 12 cakes of showbread represent the 12 tribes of Israel dedicated to God’s service. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

The alter of incense represents our prayers: “they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people”. Revelation 5:8

The veil is the curtain that divided the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies and reminds us that before Christ died on the cross we couldn’t come directly to God, only the Levite priests could go into the holy of holies but now the curtain has been ripped, all of us who believe in Christ, have the right to come to the throne of grace and find mercy.

At that moment [Christ’s death on the cross] the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” Mathew 27:51 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”. Hebrews 4:15

The ark of the covenant and the mercy seat symbolizes God’s presence among His people. It represents God’s throne which is one of judgment and also grace with the sprinkling of the blood from the sacrificed animal. It also contained the 10 commandments.

We today have God’s laws which He judges us by but we are saved by grace through Christ’s blood. We need God’s mercy and His commandments and we also need to remember He will judge us oneday.

The door: There was only one way to enter the tabernacle and there is only one way to enter the Kingdom of God and that is through Jesus, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

The sacrifices were done daily meaning they could only cleanse a person temporarily but when Christ died on the cross, His sacrifice was once and for all...permanent. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy”. Hebrews 10:14

The colours Gold: no other metal is like gold, it is the purest of all the metals and we know that Jesus is pure. It is a soft metal, just like God...he is soft with us, waiting for us to change. He could be so harsh and mean, but He is kind and gentle and patient. Gold doesn’t rust and it can’t be dissolved in acid – just like God who is eternal and can’t be penetrated by impurities and is always victorious. It can even be used as a medicine and there is no greater physician than God. It is a conductor of heat and electricity and we know it is through Jesus we can come close to God. Gold is also used by those who are rich to prove they are rich. There is no one more rich than God!

Blue: represents heaven which reminds us that Christ is God!

Purple: the colour of royalty which reminds us the Jesus is the King of Kings!

Scarlet: represents the blood of Christ on the cross to pay for the price of our sin!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


By Terry Cowland

The Centrality of Worship Micah 6:6-8

Worship Ppt God Centred Worship

Culturally driven approaches to worship

1. It is________________worship

2. It is________________worship

3. It is________________worship

What is genuine Worship? Psalm 8:1-5;9





Five Principles of Worship

1. Worship is to be ____________________John 4:21,21

2. Worship requires a _________________ relationship with Jesus Christ. John 4:22

3. Genuine Worship is without _________________John 4:23

4. Genuine Worship is where__________is the__________focus. John 4:23

5. Genuine Worship is where the________and_______________is central John 4:24

‘Testing’ Genuine Worship

1. Do I know Christ________________?

2. Is my worship______________or_______________centred?

3. Is _________and____________the_____________?

4. Is our worship a genuine expression of our_______ with God?

5. Have I remembered the______________of God?

6. Have I remembered that worship is not about an____________but ____________?

7. Have I remembered that worship is about__________________?

Genuine Worship Hebrews 12:28,29; 13:7-17

The Practices of Genuine Worship

1. Worship____________________Hebrews12:28,29

a. Know who_____are.

b. Know who ____is

2. Worship____________________Hebrews13:7,17

a. Follow the____________of Godly leaders

b. ________to Godly leaders

3. Worship____________________Hebrews13:8,9

a. ______________any teaching that is_______________________

b. ______________any teaching that is_______________________

4. Worship____________________Hebrews13:10-14

a. Remember your____________in Christ

b. ____________anything that comes______________&_________

5. Worship____________________Hebrews13:15-16

a. Maintain an attitude of _______________

b. Maintain an attitude of _______________

6. Worship____________________Hebrews13:15,16

a. Offer sacrifices of___________

b. Offer sacrifices of___________with others

7. Worship____________________Hebrews13:16

a. Give your___________and_________

b. Give ______________and_________

8. Worship____________________Ecclesiastes 5.1-7

a. Be______________for worship

b. Be______________about worship

c. Be______________about worship

d. Be______________about worship

9. Worship with_______________

a. Reverence means______and___________Habakkuk 2:20

b. Reverence means the_____________of ______________Psalm 8:1,4

c. Reverence requires a_____________and_____________mind

d. Reverence includes _____________ and_____________Psalm 122:1-4;

Colossians 3:16-17; Revelation 5:12-13

10. Worship________________.

a. Elders are to see that____________and_____________ is practiced Acts 20:28

b. Leaders are to see that everything is done_________ and in________ 1 Corinthians 4:40

11. Worship’s__________________

a. Worship is an expression of_____________ Psalm 95:1-6; Psalm 96:3-4; Psalm 103:1;

1st Chronicles 16:29-30

12. Worship is_______________

a. God is___________and____________

b. We are __________ we can be__________in order to____________.

Psalm 50:22-23 Exodus 20:18-19; 34:5-8; Hebrews 12:18-29

13. Worship is_____________

a. ___________the Lord as holy and__________him Leviticus 10:3

b. being___________ has a_________________Hebrews 10:23-25

c. We are a_____________ to worship God 1 Peter 2:5,9

14. Worship is a______________

Psalm 116:17; 69:30-31; 2 Samuel 24:24 & Romans 12:1-4

15. Worship is to be________________

Psalm 122:11; Samuel 15:22; 51:16-17; Habakkuk 2:20

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

God works for the good

By Colleen Podmore

Introduction: The last few weeks I’ve been listening to teaching by Chuck Missler on Radio Rhema. He has been teaching through the book of Romans.

Today I would like to try and summarise some of that, to remind us of how great our salvation is. How much God has done for us, is doing for us and will do for us, if we don’t give up. I hope you will be encouraged as I have been. The writer of Hebrews says, ‘We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation’ Hebrews 2;1,3

Salvation: One of the first points chuck Missler makes is about the term ‘salvation’. It’s vague and the meaning has been lost. For example saved from what? People today do not have any concept of God, let alone a judgement day. In this sense salvation means nothing. You can be saved from the rain, saved from embarrassment. What do names like Salvation Army mean nowadays? Just nice people doing good works.

Justification: We can break salvation down into more specific terms. A much more specific term is justification, it’s a legal term. To justify means according to the dictionary: vindication, to prove the justice of, to excuse.

But to excuse from what? First we have to go back to the beginning and get the big picture.

God who is holy and cannot tolerate sin said to Adam, ‘Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on that day you will die’ Genesis 2:17.

God’s dilemma – if he is holy and righteous, how can he forgive sin and yet maintain his law. If he says, ‘Oh well, never mind’. He violates his own standards of justice – and we also have this strong sense of justice – if someone breaks the law they must be punished (unless it’s us of course). This is both a consequence and deterrence to breaking the law.

And Adam did die on that day. He died spiritually and was separated from relationship with God and eventually he died physically. And sin entered the world through one man and passed to all men (Romans 5:12).

Of course we know full well how God resolved the dilemma – it is the gospel of Jesus Christ – the Good news – ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and he was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures... 1Cor 15:3,4

When we come to Christ, by faith, we are justified freely by what Christ did.

This occurred in the past for us –it happened once when we believed that Jesus died for our sins, that He took our place and received our punishment on the cross, so that we can go free. God justifies his pardon through the substitute of the life of Christ.

Today we will pray for people who haven’t made that step of faith, who maybe don’t really understand the gospel – pray that we or someone may be able to explain, people who don’t believe there is a God –pray their eyes will be opened to the wonders of Creation. Don’t just pray for salvation, break it down into steps, Christmas is coming ask God to open people’s eyes to the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of a Saviour.

A good analogy is to imagine you are in a court of law, you have been found guilty of a crime. You have broken the law – should you be allowed to go free without punishment – No!

But imagine if the judge comes down from the bench, takes of his robe and all his glory and pulls out his cheque book and writes out a cheque which actually takes every last cent that he has and hands it over and says to you, ‘You are free to go, I have paid the penalty for your crime’. The cashier takes the cheque, takes your debt and stamps it – Paid in full! Declared Righteous!

‘This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus, God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood”. (Romans 3:22-25).

But wait, there is more.....wouldn’t it be great if we got saved and then went to heaven?

Sanctification: We are saved from the penalty of sin, because Jesus died in our place.

So here we are, just accepted Christ, our passport is stamped, it’s our get out of hell free card, truly we are saved from judgement for our sins.

We are saved from the penalty of sin, past tense and we are also saved from the power of sin – present tense. We have our passport stamped but we still sin, but now it is a choice. And how do we escape the ‘power’ of sin?

This is where baptism comes into the equation. Baptism is often just associated with the act of being baptized but baptism also means ‘to identify with’. We are ‘baptized’ with Christ when we believe. We identify with Him in His death, burial and resurrection.

Paul says: ‘Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” Romans 6:3-4

We are saved from the power of sin because we have died to sin. I don’t know how God does it but somehow we have freedom from the power of sin. There are many terms to describe this supernatural transformation - we are ‘born again’, ‘raised to life’ ‘given new hearts’, ‘set free’. This is not just wishful thinking or the power of positive thinking – it is a new life, the old has gone, the new has come. Who the Son sets free will be free indeed! Amen.

Paul says ‘We are to count ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 6:11) this is a moment by moment reckoning and this is our daily struggle to desire to be holy, to put to death the misdeeds of the body. We have the power to overcome, to choose what is right.

Today we will pray for people who have succumbed to temptation and gone back to indulging the sinful nature, becoming ensnared again. Pray for repentance, godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2Cor 7:10). We have to pray for them that they will know it’s possible to overcome the power of sin, pray that they will desire righteousness, desire truth, desire God’s discipline, refresh their hearts, restore the fear of the Lord, turn away from the deeds of the flesh which so easily ensnare us. The two natures live together which one will we feed? The flesh or the Spirit?

Glorification: Hallelujah, salvation – saved from the penalty of sin which is justification saved from the power of sin, also called sanctification and saved from the presence of sin, known as glorification, a future event.

There is much more to our great salvation, we haven’t touched on the role of the Holy Spirit, the privilege of being Sons and heirs of God, our security in Christ, but hopefully this short revision will help us to pray earnestly today for men, those in the church, those in our families, our colleagues and friends.

Finally, let us draw strength and hope from these verses in Romans 8:28. Memorize them and use them every day.

“And we know That in all things God works for the good Of those who love him Who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) NIV

Every day, God brings situations that ask the question –‘Do you trust me?”

And we know, that in all things, God works together for good, to those who love God and have been called according to his purpose!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Worthy is the Lamb

Communion by Colleen Podmore

Worthy is the Lamb –Why is the Lamb worthy?

He is worthy because He secured our freedom. He is worthy to be praised and honoured because He has been victorious in defeating our enemies –sin and death at the cross! Amen!

God is Righteous – that is He always does what He says He will do. He always keeps the law and when He said, ‘The soul that sins will die’ – both physically and spiritually – He couldn’t change His mind.

Instead he paid the price for our salvation – it’s like a judge pronounces the verdict –guilty and then comes down from His judgement seat and pays His own righteous penalty and so the person who was guilty, through faith is redeemed.

Jesus is worthy of all praise glory and honour because He was obedient to the Father’s will and secured my pardon, our pardon and God granted us His Righteousness when we believe and trust in Jesus as our substitute, as my substitute, I can go free, we can go free because our sins are paid for – the law has been upheld! Hallelujah!

Bread and Grapejuice – the Lord has asked us to remember Him –to remember His death and resurrection until He comes back to earth again, through these simple emblems of bread and grape juice. Some people use wine which may or may not contain alcohol. We just use grape juice, unfermented wine.

If you are not sure whether to take and eat the bread and drink the wine – then it is better not to - don’t feel compelled but ask someone about it afterwards.

Let’s pray

Father God, thankyou for Your great plan of redemption, to bring us back to You. We were lost without any way of keeping the law, of being righteous as You are Righteous.

Lord Jesus as we take this bread and break it and eat it together, we ask that You bless it as we remember Your body given as a sacrifice of atonement for our sins. As we take the wine we remember that life is in the blood and Your life was poured out 2000 yrs ago in my place, in our place to satisfy the righteous requirements of the law. We ask that You bless it now.

Spirit of God we welcome You in this place, in our lives, convict us of sin and righteousness and the judgement to come so that we will be counted worthy as He is worthy. Amen!

Romans 3:22-25: ‘This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood’

In your own time, eat and drink, giving thanks.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Inspiration from the Olympics

Olympians And God's Pleasure

from the August 07, 2012 eNews issue (visit the website for a FREE subscription)

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." – Eric Liddell
In the movie Chariots of Fire, based on the true story of Olympian Eric Liddell, Liddell's sister complains that he should be doing more important things with his life than running. Liddell responds with the above quote, basically saying that, no, God was pleased when he ran fast. His doing what God made him to do was a blessing and a joy to both him and his Creator. As we watch the Olympic games in London, it is easy to see the glory of God displayed in human beings, especially when they recognize His hand on them.

Gabby Douglas has caught the attention of America and the world for several reasons; she gets beautiful height in her leaps and flips, earning her the nickname "the flying squirrel;" she is the first African American to win the all-around gold medal in women's gymnastics (the fourth American ever to do so at all); and she loves Jesus Christ.

After winning the gold medal for the all-around, Douglas notably said, "It is everything I thought it would be; being the Olympic champion, it definitely is an amazing feeling. And I give all the glory to God. It's kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me."

This determined young lady is an inspiration to everybody. Her dedication to God, her hard work, and her history-making win are an encouragement to those who dream of following in her steps.

Gabby Douglas is not alone, though. There are a significant number of Olympians dedicated to giving God the glory.

Jacob Wukie loved to go bow hunting as a child. He won a bow hunting world championship at age 15 and went on to compete in archery at the college level. His perseverance in his passion for archery has led him to the 2012 Olympics, where he and the U.S. archery team captured the team competition silver medal after the team had suffered a "medal drought" since 2000.

Wukie credits God with his Olympics success. He had a poor attitude after he just missed making the 2008 Olympics team. He came in 17th in the first round of trials, when the top 16 archers moved on to the next round.

"Instead of trusting God and knowing that He was in control and had a plan for me, I was anxious and frustrated," Wukie said in a Beyond the Ultimate interview. Another archer pulled out in those 2008 trials, and Wukie was able to move forward, but his attitude was negative and he continued to shoot poorly.

Wukie had given his life to Jesus as a child, and during the trials he asked God to change his heart and fix his perspective. "The Lord did change my heart, and I became genuinely excited about the future, even though I didn't know what the future held," says Wukie. "I was right where God wanted me, and, as a result, I was very content."

He easily made the 2012 U.S. Olympic archery team, and he, Jake Kaminski and Brady Ellison won the silver medal in the team competition this Saturday. Wukie believes that God's will for him is to keep training and improving in archery, "…[B]ut regardless," he said, "I will be living my life for Christ, seeking to know Him more, and seeking to be used by Him to influence the lives of those around me so that they might know Him as well."

Reid Priddy is on his third Olympics, and at age 35 is considered an old man in U.S. men's volleyball. Like Eric Liddell, Priddy believes that God is glorified by his hard work and striving to be the best he can be with the talents he's been given.

"I believe that God is most glorified when I use the gifts He has given me to the best of my ability, whether I am on international TV or just training," Priddy told Beyond The Ultimate.

Priddy won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The men's volleyball team did well this year too, though they lost to Italy in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Priddy credits God with using volleyball to make him a better man in all aspects of his life. He gives 110 percent to the game, not for personal glory, but as part of seeking excellence in everything he does, from playing on the volleyball court to living at his home with his family. He believes our goal as Christians should be "to pursue greatness (no matter what you are doing) in the name of God and clinging to the strength He provides. Not with the end goal of winning - though it can be a goal and is part of the process - but rather to become more like God and glorify Him."

Those who serve God do not always win. Sometimes we Christians fall short of the "best" according to the world's definitions. Serving God is not a magic good luck charm. It doesn't guarantee success. It does mean we give Him everything out of our love and dedication to Him. We work our hardest, and then we trust Him with the results. We praise Him whether we win or whether we lose, letting Him work His work in our lives whatever happens.

Jamie Nieto: Seattle native high jumper Jamie Nieto cleared the 2.29 meter jump at the Olympic games this week, the same height as the three co-third place winners, but because he'd had more earlier misses than the three bronze medal winners, he fell to 6th place. He thus lost his last chance at an Olympic medal. At 35, Nieto will be too old to compete in Brazil in 2016 (barring Abraham-like miracles). At Athens in 2004, he also lost the tie for bronze because of his earlier misses - to Jaroslav Baba of the Czech Republic.

Yet, Nieto has reached the Olympics and has succeeded despite being the oldest on the U.S. high jump team. "Your only limitations are what you believe them to be, and as long as you put God first, you can achieve all things through Him," Nieto posted on his website.

He told the Christian Post, "I need God in every aspect to help me move forward in my career and being here at the Olympics is a testament."

These are just a few of the Christian Olympians competing for the U.S., and this list does not even touch on the non-American Christians at the London Olympics.

Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce called her home church in Jamaica on Sunday to thank the congregation for their prayers. Fraser-Pryce won the women's 100-meter final on Saturday with a time of 10.75 seconds. "I am just excited and if I never knew how powerful God was, I found out yesterday," she said. She has hardly kept her faith in God a secret.

Then there is Leo Manzano, who carried flags for both Mexico and the U.S. when he stood Tuesday in honor of the silver medal he'd won in the 1,500 meters. While he lives in the United States, he says his "roots are still in Mexico."

Manzano's dependence on God comes out constantly in the things he says. He gives God the credit for his victory in London, especially in his ability to race into second place at the very end of the race, despite the blood that oozed down his leg from spike wounds. He calls his final kick ability his "amazing gift from God."

"My legs just felt like they were bricks," said Manzano. "But really something inside me said, 'Keep going; keep going; keep pushing; keep pushing.' As I was coming down the track, I definitely prayed. I said, 'God give me the strength to push through,' and I definitely felt a surge of energy drawn from my body. The next thing I know I'm in second."

"It's been a long time," Manzano said. "I've been on five U.S. teams now. It's finally my turn. Last year, I came off the track, and I was limping off. From that to this, I couldn't ask for more."

Men and women from across the world are competing for medals, demonstrating not just their own abilities, but the amazing beauty and power of the human body and spirit. We are the treasures of God; He made us for excellence, and He is glorified when we push to the limits the talents He has given to us. When we recognize that our gifts are truly from Him, we get to enjoy the blessing of knowing His direct influence in our lives and His joy in us. We get to feel His pleasure.

Related Links:
• Olympics 2012: Gabby Douglas, "The Flying Squirrel," Makes History - The Washington Times
• Shooting for Gold: Olympian Jacob Wukie - The Examiner
• Jacob Wukie Helps U.S. Claim First Medal Of The London Olympics - The Plain Dealer
• Olympian Plays For God And Country: Reid Priddy - The Examiner
• Veteran Reid Priddy Thinks U.S. Men's Volleyball Can Repeat As Gold Medalists - Detroit Free Press
• Men's High Jump Final: Jamie Nieto Loses Bronze Medal Tiebreaker Again, Falls To 6th - SB Nation
• Jamie Nieto Puts God First In The Olympics And Always - Praise 102.7
• Fraser-Pryce Thanks Church For Prayers - Jamaica Observer
• Jones Misses Glory In 100 Hurdles, While Manzano Wraps Historic 1,500 - Sports Illustrated
• Manzano Claims Silver In Men's 1500 - The Miami Herald

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Conversation with Jesus (Part II)

By Colleen Podmore

Dialogue with Jesus

Jesus said, ‘Give me some fruit, woman’.

She replied, ‘Why do you annoy me, I’m busy’.

Jesus answered, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for fruit, you would have asked him and he would have given you fruitfulness’.

‘Excuse me, but who do you think you are?’ she said, annoyed at this person.

‘Everyone who works in their own strength will become tired and anxious, depressed and despairing of life itself, but whoever eats the fruit I give them, will always be fruitful. Indeed the fruit will bring victory in everyday situations and will also store up for you treasure in heaven’.

‘That’s what I’m talking about – give me some of this fruit, so that I won’t be tired everyday’ Colleen said, suddenly interested in what he had to say.

The man said, ‘Go call your friend’

She replied, ‘I don’t have any friends’

Jesus said, ‘That’s true, you used to have friends, in fact you had several friends, but they no longer like you. What you have said is true’.

Feeling exposed, the woman hit back, ‘What about you? How many friends do you have?’

Jesus said, ‘Believe me woman; a time is coming when all my friends will desert me. Friends in this life are valuable, but being friends with my Father is far more important and sustaining. God is Father and is looking for children to be a part of His family’.

The woman said, ‘One day Jesus will come back to earth and explain everything’.

Then Jesus answered, ‘Colleen, my child, I AM speaking to you, go and be fruitful’

‘Yes Lord’

(Galatians 5:22)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Coversations with Jesus (Part I)

By Colleen Podmore

A Conversation with Jesus

This study is based on the idea that there are different levels of conversation. We can choose to engage in small talk, nothing personal, just the immediate environment, the weather etc. Good idea to be widely read and be able to discuss intelligently current events. This would be Level 1. Level 2 would be more personal, sharing something about you, asking the other person about themselves. Maybe hobbies, families, jobs etc. What worries you, what your opinions are? This level can be scarey as we become more vulnerable. Finally, there is a spiritual level where the conversation is concerned with our faith and beliefs about life and death and what we trust in the most.

John 4:1-26 There is a conversation recorded in the Bible between Jesus and a woman. I’m sure you know the one I mean. This conversation is very revealing. We can read it and put ourselves in the woman’s shoes or we can use it as a way to talk to people.

John 4:7 Jesus was travelling home because he didn’t want to provoke the Pharisees. It was midday and he came to a well in Samaria. A woman came to draw water at the well. (Imagine being alone with the Son of God? What would you say?) Jesus takes the lead in the conversation and asks for a drink of water, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ (Would this be the only place in Scripture where God asks for help?)

I find the dynamics of helping people can lead to a power imbalance. They are placed in your debt. Here Jesus puts Himself at a disadvantage by asking for help but it is the start of a profound conversation. We should look for these little opportunities to ask for help. Can you help me? Can you show me the way?


John 4:9 His request shocked her. It was culturally unacceptable for a man to speak to a woman and even more so for a man from Judah to speak to a woman from Samaria, a Samaritan woman. The two cultures just did not associate (vs 9). But Jesus is sensitive to convention – he speaks to the woman in a private place. He does not embarrass her in front of others. Are there people that you just would not look at, let alone speak to?


John 4:10 - Jesus pretty much replied, ‘Don’t worry about that – the actual drink of water is nothing – I can actually give you living water’

He’s still speaking to her at Level 1, nothing personal just stating a fact.

John 4:11,12 - She is intrigued. He has her attention – ‘Living water –what is it?’

Still at level 1 – nothing personal – just talking about the water.

John 4:11 Imagine what she in thinking - She looks at Jesus and sees nothing that indicates his majesty – just a simple Jewish man in dusty robes with sandals on his feet – nothing about him that would attract her to him. She may have been thinking, ‘Who is this man?’ – no one but a carpenter from Galilee. I’m sure we can all relate to how this woman must have been feeling. We often neglect the small things, the little things, the non-spectacular things – but even children can teach us.


John 4:13,14 Jesus again entices her with images of this living water. Still at level 1 – nothing personal just a little more information about living water. He doesn’t use the first person but talks generally about ‘everyone’ – very non-threatening.

This is really an important statement about the Holy Spirit and about eternal life. In John 7:38, Jesus says, ‘If anyone believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive’.

(So the Living water is actually the Spirit of God who comes to live in the person who puts their faith and trust in Jesus and because they are sealed with the Spirit – they have eternal life – so the Living water wells up to eternal life. I’m sure this conversation is more for us today than for the woman of Samaria!)

When we speak with people we should speak the truth - just state the facts and not try to convince or argue or justify what we say. Let the words and the Holy Spirit do the rest


John 4:15 He has her undivided attention! She says, ‘Give me this water!’ But she hasn’t quite understood the implications as her answer indicates. Now she has taken the conversation to the next level, not Jesus – revealing a need she has for rest from the burden of life. Jesus had made her thirsty for this kind of water because life is hard, but she has no idea He was talking about the Holy Spirit.

I think we need to learn how to listen to what people say and not to talk at them but it is a conversation that unfolds and not a monologue where we do all the talking.


John 4:16-18 Jesus has her full undivided attention – time to close the sale. He wants to release this daughter from slavery, from bondage, but the next step is in her hands. She must admit that she is in need – she must admit that she needs help. Spiritual level stuff. But notice how Jesus deals with the question of her sin.

Jesus is so kind – ‘Go call your husband’ He says. He didn’t say – You are a sinner and must repent. Isn’t it marvellous the way she confessed to him –‘I have no husband ‘–(perhaps she thought Jesus would make a good husband and wanted to let him know she was available?)

In a way she has given him permission to continue speaking at this level and He reveals that He knows her situation. This is the thing that really catches her – not learning about the holy Spirit or the living water – but that Jesus knew all about her (in vs29 she says, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did’ – seems like a bit of an exaggeration but maybe we only have a summary of their conversation?)

We often do not know these details about a person. We know they are human beings with sinful natures who struggle as we do and who need to be set free and this is enough. The Holy Spirit knows the details as Jesus did in this instance. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our conversations? Are we aware that a lot can be going on behind the scenes and are we aware of the clues indicating this? The tear in the eye, looking away etc?

Jesus can say what He said, but can we –when we are talking to people? Often we are given insight and knowledge but it is to help, to pray and not to expose - Let us not provoke people to anger. Let us be gentle and considerate and leave room for the Holy Spirit to convict of sin and righteousness and judgement (John 16:9)


John 4:19,20 At this point the conversation is a little too close to home – enough of the spiritual level stuff, let’s get back to the more impersonal level- so the woman throws in a red-herring to deflect the conversation away from her. I think this is valid but it can be where arguments start. We must be careful not to get into arguments. We may win the argument but loose the soul.

John 4: 21-24 Jesus has touched her soul and freely gives her and us more information

John 4:25 Finally, she admits to being overwhelmed. This is what I know – this is who I will listen to

John 4:26 Jesus answers to her – I am Messiah!


Who has God brought near to you? Let’s take what we have learned about conversations and draw near to people and with grace and gentleness, plant a seed, whisper in their ear and with our actions tell them about the Saviour who loves them. May God bless you.


Thursday, July 19, 2012


By Odon Bulamba (19th November 2005)

When you doubt it means you are not sure and you don’t accept completely. When you doubt it means you stay away and are afraid of coming closer in case you fall into a mistake. If the Church of God is being destroyed today it’s because of doubt. For example, if I don’t trust Hayley, I will keep my distance. Sometimes we keep our distance from God because we doubt God is really here and we doubt He is really in our heart and we start to doubt that we are really Christian.

Mark 11:23&24, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

If you don’t doubt you’ll get anything that you ask for. Doubt is something the devil raised for the first time in the garden of Eden. He visited Eve and made her doubt what God had said and this is the way us Christians fall when we believe something and then satan puts in doubt. Adam and Eve found they were naked and this is the consequence of doubt. Adam and Eve believed God but they minimised His message.

Doubt is the best poison to destroy your faith and when you doubt your faith becomes sick and then your actions will be sick and God will not be pleased. If you other people, God will also doubt you.

Jude 22, “Be merciful to those who doubt”.

Do we help those who doubt and try to convince them and pray for them or do we just judge them?

Christians who doubt cut themselves from the tree of life. A Christian with doubt is like bitter water; when people try to drink it they will reject it and although we are thirsty, the taste makes it impossible to swallow.

1 Corinthians 13:7 “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hate Evil

By Odon Bulamba (24th December 2005) Summary only

Although the moon gives light there is no life on the moon. When we look at the moon it is very beautiful and gives light and is very soft, not like the sun. Some Christians are apparently soft and nice but when God visits, there is no life in them.

Mathew 23:27,Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”.

Everybody loved the Pharisees because on the outside they were soft and looked very good but on the inside there was something wrong.

Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.

If you know the Holy One it will be easy to understand things but if you don’t know God, it’s easy to judge and make human decisions.

Proverbs 8:13, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech”.

The fear of the Lord means you will hate evil and therefore in order to find wisdom you need to hate evil. When you hate evil you will see who God is for you.

Hate is something deep in your heart and you’ll feel something wrong, you will have no joy when you see it and you will want to stay away. Many Christians can’t make decisions, they are like the moon looking nice on the outside but on the inside they can’t make up their minds even if sin is ruining their lives. Sometimes we forget how to make decisions because we look left and right and not at God. When we are not serious, when we make decisions to sin…God will see the image that we reflect to the world is not good (the moon reflects light from the sun). When you make a decision to live for God, you must keep it and when you fail…you must repent otherwise you will just be like the Pharisees looking clean on the outside while there is something wrong on the inside.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

X-mas and Santa

By Odon Bulamba (31st January 2005) Summary only

Because Jesus was born we benefit today. Because Jesus came down to earth we have found a new direction that leads us to the Kingdom of God. However, the Bible doesn’t say to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ once per year. Jesus said to remember Him with bread and wine.

Santa is a human figure depicting St Nicolas who was a Catholic bishop but coca cola changed the green and blue robe that he had worn to red and white to represent their colours. In Rev 17 is the woman who rides the beast is dressed in red and red is often used in magic (especially human blood in sacrifices) and red signifies danger is nature. It’s impossible to know who the person dressed as santa is because he is masked by a hat and beard. We have to remember that it’s because of a lack of knowledge that many will perish.

In Rev 2:14&15, Jesus is condemning the church for holding onto the teachings of the Nicolatians and encouraging their children to do so also. Is it a coincidence that santa is derived from St Nicolas? Many parents today encourage their children to sit on the lap of santa to get a photo and encourage children to ask santa for gifts. Satan is preparing the minds of our children, he is preparing their memory so later they won’t accept Jesus in their life.

Jeremiah 16:19, “Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.”

Our traditional religion is nothing, it’s like a wind. In the past when people celebrated with a sacrifice to satan they would use lights and today we cover our rooms and x-mas trees with lights. In the Bible the meaning of a deer is something evil and yet we tell stories to our children about the raindeer bringing presents.

Jeremiah 38:4, This is what the LORD says, Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”

Christmas is not a biblical word…you cannot find this word anywhere in the Bible. 

Jeremiah 6:16, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

We are putting the Word of God aside in order to live according to our own tradition and culture. God is giving us signs of His return but nobody is thinking about that.

Numbers 2
When we don’t listen to God’s instructions, He looks away and we get discouraged. We need to practise the Word of God and understand the time we are living and then we can be winners.