Faith for… the world

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9)

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? “For God so loved the world… blah blah blah.” Sorry to be so crass, but I reckon that a liturgical familiarity of such scriptures can breed an immunity in our souls to the truth, the power, the implication of these words. That’s why I have put four scriptures on this blog today. I hope you will meditate on them.

The love of God for the world. For people that we wouldn’t love naturally. In order to have faith that God loves the world, we need to go back to the first blog of this series… God loves me. God saves me. Only the humbled can receive and believe this. And it is as we see ourselves on common ground with humanity, desperately needy, that we begin to believe and receive the love of God that we begin to believe that he loves others and we are compelled by his love to share it.

I could have put 50 verses on this blog. In fact, as I am reading these scriptures again right now, I wish I had included a scripture stating our response, our God-given role in reaching the world with God’s love. How about Matthew 28: 18-20, the great commission from JESUS to go in his name into all the world and make disciples? How about we interpret Isaiah 61 as not just the calling and anointing on JESUS to love the world, but ours too?

Join me today in praying:

Father, thank you for your unfathomable, reckless, saving love for me in your son, Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, humble me again to know it deep within, and for me to be compelled by your love to share it, in faith that your love can powerfully change other people’s lives like it is changing mine. Give us, your church, faith to step out in action and believe for a harvest of souls as we love the lost. Here I am, Lord. Send me. Amen.

Faith for…the church

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29)

“And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)

“In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22)

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

The prevalent culture that we are immersed in favours the individual over the corporate, and personal spirituality over organised religion. You may have noticed, but the visible church in our nation has gone through many rounds of ridicule and attack lately. Some of it warranted. But even as those on the inside, it’s all too easy for us to rate how we think the church is performing for us, and to moan when things don’t suit us. This is the consumer mentality.

Yet we are Christ’s body, here on earth. He is our head. He loves his body, even though not yet perfect. Lesslie Newbigin described the church as being a sign, instrument and foretaste of God’s coming Kingdom. The church was, is and always will be his Plan A in his mission here on earth. So, we should nourish and cherish who we are together, and allow God to place us where he wants us to be in his body. If there is nothing that Jesus loves more than us, his bride, his body, then we are to love it too. We are to believe that the fullness of Christ wants to fill his church, and to allow the Holy Spirit to build us together as he sees fit.

What a masterpiece the church is, even if it’s still being painted!

Meditate on these scriptures. Think about how Jesus loves his church, and ask him for faith to believe that his church will continue to grow both in the world and locally. Pray for the church in difficult situations around the world. Maybe ask yourself whether and how you love Jesus’ church. And why not ask him to build up and bless his church this weekend?

(Marcus Mosey)

Faith for… family

“I was young and now I am old,

yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken

or their children begging bread.

They are always generous and lend freely,

their children will be a blessing.” (Psalm 37:25-26)

“Those who fear the Lord are secure;

he will be a refuge for their children.” (Proverbs 14:26)

“And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your

household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in

his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their

wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.” (Acts 16:31-33)

When Caleb was growing in my wife’s womb, I had an encounter with God one evening. He asked me if I would trust him with everything I had – my house, my car, my ministry. And then he said “will you entrust your unborn son to me?” I broke down at this point, sobbed, and said yes. For some reason it was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. He then spoke to me of the pain as well as the joy that would follow. In those moments I felt like Mary, and in my heart I said “He’s yours. Let it be to us according to your Word.”

The ones we love the most can be the hardest to trust God with. We love them so much, we want the best for them, and we can easily fear for them. God doesn’t want you to fear what is going to happen to your parents, your spouse or your children. Fear is a snare for our lives that can lead us into idolising our families and loved ones above worshipping God. God cares about your family more than you will ever know, so you can pray in faith for them and God will answer.

If you are a parent, your children will not easily escape the legacy of your life, so if you live in the healthy fear of the Lord and pursue living according to His Word, the promises of scripture are clear.

Meditate on these scriptures, release those you love into God’s care, affirm the promises of God over them and determine today to live in such a way as to create the legacy of the Kingdom in your family.

(Marcus Mosey)

Faith for… provision

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

“So don’t worry about these things….. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:31/ 33)

Are you a worrier? Lots of people’s biggest fears are in the arena of money. “What if I lose my job? What if the car breaks down?” Or maybe “I’ve lost my job! The car has broken down! What now???”

Money, how we produce it, and how we need it is a big deal.

Jesus and Paul had a lot to say about our attitude towards money, and other things that we are reliant on. Some have edited the Bible into a “get prosperous” manual, which of course, it isn’t. But what we do have are a series of imperatives not to worry, and of promises of provision for those  who follow its clear directions of how to be blessed. And that is, to give.

Faith for provision is expressed by giving to God what is His. Seeking His Kingdom first with our finance, our time, everything we are and have, is the basis for experience the amazing provision of God. Philippians 4:19 is often quoted without conditions attached, but it is a promise written specifically to people who have given sacrificially and generously. 

Meditate on these scriptures and ask the Lord to show you how to grow in faith in His provision for your life. Then begin to take action. 

(Marcus Mosey)

Faith for…. me!

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” (1John 3:1)

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” (James 1:17-18)

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)

They say charity starts at home. Whether that is true or not, faith certainly does start at home. With you.

You cannot have faith for very much if you do not believe that God loves you. That  he chose you in Christ and adopted you. This is the miracle that positions us in faith – God loves me! I am his child, his prized possession! And he is faithful to complete the transformation of my life. 

Meditate on these scriptures and reaffirm today in faith that you are a child of God, a friend of God. Confess to him any difficulties you have with this, and ask him to free you from any barrier you have to believing that he really loves you and wants to work powerfully in your life. Once you know these truths, there will be no stopping you. 

(Marcus Mosey)

Invited… so invite

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

(Luke 2:10-12)

The Christmas story. The account of how and when God intervened in the form of a baby who would be King showcases so much about the passion and generosity of God and also, sadly, our own shortcomings as a human race – especially how arrogant and selective we are.

You just have to look at who the main players are in the story of Christ’s birth to realise how loving and inclusive God is. A teenage peasant girl and a carpenter  host God in flesh, and receive visits from local shepherds and foreign sages. In a stable room of a house in a very unfashionable town. Not the people or the place that any of us would have chosen to personally turn up and invite. There is no simile or metaphor that can adequately describe the ludicrous self-reduction and humility of God here. All in the cause of a passionate invitation that is still extended to all of us over 2,000 years later.

God invites. God includes. God stoops to do so. He calls the ‘somebodies’ and the ‘nobodies’ of our age to worship. He rules no-one out in terms of status. “If you will come, you are welcome” is His message. The angels didn’t keep the news to themselves. Neither should we.

Ok, so we might not have our own angel host ready to do our inviting this Christmas. But we can still put the call out there to others. How about inviting a family, a single mum and kids, a bereaved dad, our neighbours….whoever, to come to church on Sunday for a special presentation of the story? How about inviting the lonely neighbour down the street into your home for a cuppa on Boxing Day? One invitation can lead to another, and before you know it, we may have signposted people to Jesus.

Go on, put it out there… and why not put yourself out there too? Will you pray with me today “Father, can You use my life in some way today as an invitation for others to know you?”

If you’re on social media, I’ve made it easy for you. Here is a link for our family event this Sunday, “With Love from God to You”. I’m inviting you. And you can invite others too.

(by Marcus Mosey)

More than a baby

‘More than a baby, born in a stable

More than tradition, this story is real

History changed here, heaven came down

God became human and felt what I feel.’ 

(Daniel Brown)

Quite a few of my friends have had babies lately. Now I’m not really a baby person, but when someone hands you a tiny human, it’s hard to say no! But something that struck me is just how tiny and vulnerable and dependant they are. A baby human can literally do nothing without its parents; not walk, not stand, not feed itself, not even sit up! 

                                                                             

And that…. that was Jesus!

‘Away in the Manager’ was wrong, baby Jesus DID cry (at least when he was born.) If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be breathing and he had to breathe – he was human. But it didn’t end there. 

The bible doesn’t talk much about it, but Jesus grew up as a normal human child. He had to run for his life at the age of two to escape the clutches of Herod. He had to grow up. He had to learn to walk. He had to learn to talk. He probably fell and scraped his knee. Jesus (and let’s not forget the God of the universe) was fully human. With all that comes with it.

That’s the truly amazing thing to me about Christmas. The same God who created the universe, the same God who breathed life into us, the same God who split the red sea, made water come out of a stone, who liberated his people from Egypt; not only became human, but became a baby. The God of the universe literally became human and felt what I feel. Isn’t that powerful?

But it doesn’t stop there. Dan Brown’s song goes onto say:

‘All because this baby, born in a stable

Would suffer a cross

Die in my place

Pay such a cost.

That’s God’s gift to us.’ 

The God of the universe came down and spent thirty years as an ordinary, regular human, doing regular human things. Three years as a rabbi that shook the world. And then in three days was murdered in the most horrific, humiliating way and then was resurrected back to life  setting us all free from our sin forever. All we have to do is say Yes to him.

 How good is God?

 

(By a Nathan Jones)

You can listen to the full song ‘More than a Baby’ by Dan Brown here: https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=OlM2X8lzJvQ (and you might recognise some familiar voices!)