welcome – an encouraging meditation

ernest kitchen

Rev. E. Anderson
WELCOME TO THIS CHRISTIAN WEBSITE

Welcome, if it is your first visit to the site. I trust that you will enjoy reading and noting the contents and benefit enormously from the material presented. If you visit often, thank you very much. It gives me some pleasure to know that what is presented is being of service to you to bless others.

If you will look at the left hand side of the page you will see and note, select category. Place your cursor there and it will give you a list of many categories on this site. Click on any subject and it will provide much material relating to the subject. It is a library of contents that has been placed on the site for over three years. There is much material for you to see, note and use as desired.

I have been a Christian minister for over fifty years and now in my retirement am engaged in encouraging all who are in the later stage of life still to be active for the Lord in releasing the spiritual potential still waiting to be released with much blessing. God’s will for us is that we shall be possessed by divine zeal and usefulness. May we who lead others have such a passion and commitment.

28/03/15 – Saturday

SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU THINK

UNDER DIVINE LEADERSHIP

Exodus 13

The Lord not only delivered Israel from Egypt but made sure immediately that He would take them on the journey and lead them all the way to their future homeland. Twice it is pointed out “But God led people around by the way of the wilderness . . . . . The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they may travel by day and night” – vv18, 21, 21. He was not going to leave them to the mercy of anyone or anything but keep a watchful eye upon their protection and provision. He was totally in charge and would see to their well being at all times. It was up to one and all to trust His leadership and His total care. They had nothing to fear under His watchful eye and caring hand. The same applies to you. Having brought you to a knowledge of Himself and free you from evil, He plans to guide you throughout the whole of life’s journey, and that means every day. He is with you and around to make sure that you know what road to take, decisions to be made and to experience His overall providence. He can do it for a lifetime and then transport you into His heavenly dwelling. So seek to live under divine leadership, enjoy His company; receive and respond to all of His directions and all will be well.

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past illustrious men and ministries

RICHARD BAXTER
Richard Baxter
1615 – 1691

RICHARD BAXTER One of The best known of the Puritan authors . He has been called “the most successful preacher, winner of souls, and nurturer of souls that England has ever had.” Edmund Calamy called him “The most voluminous theological writer in the English language.” Baxter wrote 160 books. George Whitefield, John Wesley, C. H. Spurgeon and Martyn Lloyd-Jones regarded him highly.

Born in Shropshire into a somewhat poor family, he never attended a university and was always physically weak. Yet he was self-taught, acquiring great learning on his own. He became the pastor in Kidderminster, a town near Birmingham, in 1647. The people there were very wicked. The pastor he replaced was a drunkard who preached only once every three months! Hardly any of the church members were converted when he became the pastor. During his years at Kidderminster he visited all of the 800 families in his church every year, teaching each person individually. He put forth his method of ministry in his well-known book, The Reformed Pastor, the greatest book on pastoring that has ever been written.

The outstanding feature of Baxter’s preaching was his earnest zeal. In his writing and preaching he shows his belief that pastors need “the skill necessary to make plain the truth, to convince the hearers, to let in the irresistible light into their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all home; to screw truth into their minds and work Christ into their affections.”
He had “no Calvinistic axe to grind,” and sought to mediate between Arminianism and Calvinism. He attempted to soften some points of Calvinism by advocating “free will.” Baxter’s method was a middle way, which he called “mere Christianity” (C. S. Lewis used this phrase from Baxter as the title of his famous book).

His great strength lay in his pastoral ability and in his evangelistic preaching. The main purpose of his sermons was to see the lost converted. His book, A Call to the Unconverted, is a hard-hitting plea for the lost to come to Christ.
Although he preached before the King, in Parliament, and in Westminster Abbey, his favourite pulpit was in his own church, speaking to the poor people of Kidderminster.

After the Act of Uniformity, he was put in prison in the Tower of London for eighteen months because he was unwilling to stay in the Church of England. While in prison, he was often visited by the great commentator Matthew Henry.

Written in 1657, Baxter’s Treatise on Conversion is a great book. But it is too lengthy, and the wording is too difficult, for most people today. I have condensed it and rearranged it, and have changed difficult words to simpler ones, to reach the less literate mind of modern man. I hope these sermons from Baxter are a blessing to you. They indeed correct the shallow “decisionism” of our day – which is damning millions to eternal torment.

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minute message

ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson
RECOGNISING AND WALKING IN GOD’S WILL
Taken from the Word for Today

“This is God’s will for you . . .1 Thessalonians 5:18

PRAY that you may know God’s will. Strive to live in an attitude of prayer. ‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will…’ ( vv16-18 NIV). Rejoicing, praying continually, and giving thanks puts you in the active hub of God’s will.

If you only pray when you’re desperate for answers, your receptors will be rusty and your impressions nebulous at best. Regular communication with God sharpens your senses and fine-tunes your ability to distinguish His voice from all the rest. ‘Teach me to do Your will…my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground’ (Psalms 143:10 NIV).

Seek God, and He will smooth the path for you. Receive the counsel of others for confirmation, not necessarily direction. Paul said, ‘When God…called me…l did not consult any man’ (Galatians 1:15-16 NIV). Only embrace other people’s advice when it agrees with God’s Word and the Spirit’s promptings. Friends can be a source of confirmation, but not necessarily revelation.

Even your own experiences and impressions aren’t enough to discern God’s will unless they line up with His Word. Peter did this on Christ’s transfiguration. ‘We were there on the holy mountain with Him…We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard…The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time…’ (2 Peter 1:18-19 TM). Paul’s converts at Berea received his teachings enthusiastically, but they also checked them against the written Word of God (Acts 17:11). That’s always a good policy.

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message by rev rick warren

rick warren

Rev. Rick Warren
READY, SET – WAIT

“The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience — to wait for him to save us” – Lamentations 3:25-26.

When life seems to be falling apart, your most “spiritual” decision may be a surprise: Get alone with God, and wait.

The Bible tells us this in Lamentations 3:28, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst” (Lamentations 3:28 MSG).

Most of us don’t know how to “enter the silence.” We’re always anxious. We don’t like to wait on God because it stresses us out. We like to be in control.
What does it mean to wait on God? You sit down, close your mouth, and just listen to God. You may read your Bible. You may pray. But most all, you’re quiet in front of God.

Anxiety comes when we’re not “waiting for hope to appear,” as Jeremiah tells us. God wants to talk to us. He wants to give us the hope we crave. But we’re way too busy. All of our circuits are busy! When he calls, we’re on a different line.

If we want to listen to God and experience the hope he has for us, we have to get alone with him. We must “enter the silence” and be ready to hear him.
Jesus also said this in Matthew 6:6: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (MSG).

Get honest with God, and your focus will shift from just seeing your problems — no matter how overwhelming they seem — to the grace of God. Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience — to wait for him to save us” (GNT).

Before you go out and try to solve your problem on your own, let God save you. It’s like in those war movies when the enemy is marching toward the hero’s army — which is usually an inferior, ragtag group. The hero tells his men to wait until he gives the order to shoot. Then, at the last possible moment, he yells, “Shoot!” Firing at the right moment means success.

The same is true for us. No matter what obstacle you’re facing, you’ve got to wait for God’s timing. He’ll time your next move perfectly.
So wait and listen.

TALK IT OVER

Can you think of a time in your life when acting too quickly led to a disastrous outcome?

Why is it difficult to wait for God when you’re struggling through difficult times?

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messages of note

karlbeech

Karl Beech
MAN’S WORLD
WHO ARE YOU WHEN YOU ARE ALONE?

Because a fair amount of the time I’m speaking at different events, people only see me at a distance or I might only have a brief moment to chat with them. This leads to a phenomenon called ‘stereotyping’.
Let me explain… I speak with a Rom- ford/East End London accent. You know the score. Refined, well pronounced words etc. The more excited I get, the more Essex I become.

Further to this I have a physical build that resembles an Electrolux Fridge. In other words, I’m shaped like a rectangular box. Additionally, I have a naturally grumpy face. I’m filled with inner joy but outwardly I look like someone who is about to commit either a random act of unnecessary aggression or is just totally and utterly fed up with life, the universe and everything.

You could easily therefore assume, after just a fleeting glimpse in my direction, that I’ve stepped straight off the set of a Guy Ritchie gangster flick. However, that would be a mistake. While I do enjoy many typically masculine pursuits (I like weightlifting, motorbikes and bonfires amongst other things) I also enjoy things like history books, art, playing the piano, chess and vegetarian food.

I was pondering all this while fishing for tench on a hidden pond/lake near where I live. Situated in between a bunch of factories, you would never guess that it’s there. The first time I visited, I was astonished. You literally turn off the road, walk down a little path and there it is — a hidden beauty spot in the middle of a heavily industrial area. Surrounded by trees, it’s a beautiful 3.5 acre lake complete with swans and stuff (stuff being a technical term for a multitude of wildlife).

In many ways, the secret lake is a bit like me and so many of us blokes — hidden away from people who casually walk past us. l think this can lead to a lot of angst.

So this poses some questions: who are you really? Who are you when nobody is looking? Who are you when you’re alone with your thoughts? ls the real you the bloke people see when you’re down the pub or hanging out in the gym? And then, of course, there’s an even deeper question. Are you really — deep down — the man you know you ought to be? Only you know the answer to these questions, but let me tell you something I do know. If you don’t ask them you are in danger of either having a catastrophic crash or going through life disappointed. I’m happy for you to know the complexity in my life because I don’t feel a need to fulfil a stereotype. These days I’m mostly a man at peace.

The one thing that helped me to start to become the man I know I ought to be
and helped me to be almost consistently the same bloke when people see me or when people aren’t looking is my faith in Jesus Christ.

I’m not alone. I was talking recently to a former world champion power lifter. At one time he was a full-on steroid user. He took them in the belief that he needed to be a certain type of bloke and that with- out them he would be less strong and maybe even less of a man. They nearly cost him everything.

After meeting Jesus Christ he ditched the drugs and competed clean. Guess what? He still became a world champion, drug free, conscience clean and at peace with himself and his family (after nearly ending up divorced and bankrupt). Jesus made him a real man.

Have you got the guts to look in a mirror and ask the tough questions, or will
you stay hidden away? Take some time out and ask the questions… if anything it’s a good excuse to go fishing.

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meet the christian ministers

VivJean penfold

Rev. Viv. and Jean Penfold

Viv & Jean Penfold are based in Stockport, Cheshire in the UK. They have three daughters and four grandchildren. Both Viv & Jean come from a background in education but have been in full time Christian ministry for over 25 years. They are part of the leadership team of Missionary Ventures Great Britain and Europe and of 360 Life Church, Stockport.

Jean was the pioneer manager of the Stockport debt counselling centre run in conjunction with UK charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), and Viv’s ministry has mostly been in missions, evangelism, church planting and leadership development. (The first church plant was in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria where they pastored together for almost 10 years. During this time churches were planted out from there in Millom and Lancaster). Viv also served as the Director of Church Planting for Assemblies of God (AOG) North West Region for 10 years and later as the Regional Superintendent. Throughout the whole of this time Viv & Jean were heavily involved in overseas missions, especially in India, Africa, Europe and North & Central America under their ministry banner ‘No Limits’.

Viv & Jean have been associated with Missionary Ventures for over 15 years and during that time the major thrust of the work has been concentrated in India, mostly in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Viv worked with D.B. Abraham for almost 20 years and in that time they saw over 700 churches planted.

 

Together with Missionary Ventures the New Life Bible College was established in Hyderabad and over 100 pastors and church planters were trained. Two Ministry Training Centres (Visakhapatnam and Tirupathi) have prepared young people for church planting and evangelism — especially amongst unreached tribal groups such as the Konda Dora and Yanadi. Eighty five churches have been planted by graduates of these Ministry Training Centres.
Viv & Jean now serve Missionary Ventures with responsibility for Ministry and Field Development. Recently the Lord has burdened them with the desperate spiritual needs of Europe, and together with Luther & Sandy Meier and Rob & Erika Carter a team has been launched with a vision for multiplying disciples and planting churches there – “Mission Europe.”

OUR VISON

The purpose of 360Life Church is to give every man, woman and child in Stockport and beyond the repeated opportunity to understand and respond to the Gospel and to be a church where people can grow as disciples and in ministry.

Our circle of accountability is the Stockport area, with a particular focus on the town of Stockport proper.

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living devotions

ernest-024[1]

Rev. E. Anderson
TAKING RISKS
Senior Living Ministries

Many accidental deaths result from taking risks. That’s the conclusion of an organization in Canada that is seeking to decrease accidents between cars and trains. Roger Cyr, the organization’s national director, puts most of the blame for fatalities on drivers who are risk takers.

“Studies have shown that when people hear a train whistle, their minds tell them to accelerate their speed,” says Cyr. “About 43 percent of the accidents occur at crossings equipped with flashing lights and bells or gates.” Cyr also said that many drivers “even have the audacity to drive around or under gates.”

Drivers take the risks, thinking they can beat the train and somehow miss the collision. But the consequences are often tragic, because when a car and a train collide, the train will always win.

While it’s easy to look at such sad statistics and shake our heads, the truth is that many people today, even Christians, do the exact same thing with sin. They think themselves to be invincible to sin’s effects, and they charge headfirst into situations that often result in them succumbing to destructive behaviour.

When it comes to sin, don’t take unnecessary risks. Guard yourself against falling into the destructive behaviour and live your life in obedience to God through His grace!

PRAYER CHALLENGE

Pray that God would give you the wisdom to avoid taking unnecessary sin risks.

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leadership factors

graysonjones

Rev. Grayson Jones
WHAT GOES UP MUST GO DOWN

I have just returned from a week away in New York City with my wife. One of the first things that impressed me was the incredible heights of the skyscrapers – and as good tourists we did went up the viewing deck of the Rockefeller Centre Building and the Empire State Building to see the panoramic view across the city.

One of the reasons skyscrapers can be built so high is that they have incredibly good foundations. If you want to build anything that high to stand strong for many years, then it is vital that you pay just as much attention to the foundations as you do to the actual building that is above the ground.

As leaders who are looking to build significant churches that will serve our generation and the generations to come, there are two key lessons we can learn from the builders of these skyscrapers.

THE DEPTH WE GO BELOW WILL ALWAYS AFFECT THE HEIGHT WE GO ABOVE

If we want to build strong, highly visual and effective churches then we need to make sure they are built on a strong foundation. In the NT we see there is only one foundation and that is the person of Jesus Christ. We build on this foundation when we learn not to just hear or talk about the word of God, but actually do what the word says (Matt 7:24-27).

I love the fact that the Church of Jesus looks better and feels better today than it has for many years. Today many churches have great music, great teaching and great relationships – but it is vital that they are also places where we live out the word of God in everything we do.

THE HIGHER WE BUILD THE MORE FLEXIBLE WE NEED TO BE

If the building is going to stand through the storms that batter it then it also has to be built with an incredible flexibility. The higher the building the more flexibility or tolerance to movement that has to be built into it, or it would not survive.

As we build larger churches today it is important that we build into them flexibility so they are not stiff and immovable but are easily adaptable when things change and conditions demand for movement. The foundations should not move, but everything that is seen should be flexible and have movement built into it.

As you look at the church or ministry you are leading can you see the same two elements in place that will allow you to build strong and high? Do we have the immovable, irreplaceable foundation of Jesus and His word and do we have a movement and flexibility in everything else that allows us to be attractive and effective in our 21st century setting?

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
THE BED OF PROCRUSTES

This man was a legendary robber who fitted his victims to a bed by stretching them or cutting them to size by lopping off their feet.

We have their mental and moral counterparts today. From a mind-set fixed to rigid ideas, they cut every notion to their static concepts. There is no elasticity, no give, no bend in their philosophy. All must fit their “bed”, or else be trimmed to size.
But this is no new attitude. Peter spoke of those who “wrested…scripture to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). They twist and distort God’s word to fit their own prejudices or whims. What is to an honest reader plain truth, to them is mystic meaning. By subtle (though often obvious) distortion they reduce divine directions to esoteric mysteries, holy writ becomes to them cryptic hieroglyphics.

God meant His word to be understood, a ministrant of grace and help to simple faith. But some use what was intended to expound truth and torture it by squeezing into set philosophical moulds. Peter says that such are “unlearned” that is mentally incompetent, and “unstable”, that is morally weak and unbalanced. Avoid them!

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illustrations that light up life

ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson

FAITHFUL ATTENDANCE

A pastor was once asked to define “Faithful Attendance at Worship,” and this was his reply: All that I ask is that we apply the same standards of faithfulness to our church activities that we would in other areas of our life. That doesn’t seem too much to ask. The church, after all, is concerned about faithfulness.
Consider these examples:

If your car started one out of three times, would you consider it faithful? If the paperboy skipped Monday and Thursdays, would they be missed? If you didn’t show up at work two or three times a month, would your boss call you faithful? If your refrigerator quit a day now and then, would you excuse it and say, “Oh, well, it works most of the time.” If your water heater greets you with cold water one or two mornings a week while you were in the shower, would it be faithful? If you miss a couple of mortgage payments in a year’s time, would your mortgage holder say, “Oh, well, ten out of twelve isn’t bad”? If you miss worship and attend meetings only often enough to show you’re interested but not often enough to get involved, are you faithful?

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