Messages of the Moment compiled by Rev. E. Anderson

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                                      Rev. E. Anderson

LESSONS IN CONTENTMENT
by Rick Warren

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” – Philippians 4:11 (NIV)

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Here are four steps to develop contentment in your life.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. When you compare your life with someone else’s, the only place it can lead is toward discontentment. There will always be people who appear to be better off than you, but you don’t know their real circumstances.

I recall counselling a husband many years ago, and he said he wished his wife could be more like so-and-so, and he named a woman in our congregation. What he didn’t know is that the woman was a functioning alcoholic causing incredible heartache and stress for her family and for her husband.

That’s why the Bible teaches it is unwise to compare – 2 Corinthians 10:12.

2. Be grateful for who you are and what you have. Learning to be content requires that you stop any “when and then” thinking – “When I am ___________, then I’ll be happy.” (You fill in the blank.)

The reason we fall into this trap is that we may actually be content for a little while but it won’t last. But, more than likely, someone else or something else will come along and drain the contentment from your life.

But listen, you are unique. God created you to be like nobody else, so why would you want to be anyone else. God is perfect, and you were his perfect choice to be you. Understanding that is a huge step toward being content with your life.

And then look at all the things God has given you. So often we allow what we don’t have to so dominate our focus that we forget the many wonderful things we already have, not only material blessing, but far more important things, such as family and friends.

3. Give yourself to others. If you will begin giving yourself to others, sharing what things you do have, sharing your time and your talents, you will find yourself learning to be content. Helping others will give you an appreciation for what you have and who you are, but more importantly, you will find yourself growing content. Why? Because God designed us to serve and share with others, and until we do that, we will feel great discontent.

4. Focus on things with eternal value. The real secret to becoming content is to focus on the things that have eternal value. It may be a familiar teaching to you, but Jesus said we should store up our treasures in heaven, and not on earth “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).

Think about the things in your life: What will last forever? What will last at least for your lifetime? What will last a few short years, or months, or days? Based on eternal value, what things are most important in your life? Where – and with whom – should you put your most time and energy?

By re-organizing your life around eternal priorities, you’ll find yourself growing in contentment as you live according to God’s design and purpose.

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Knowing the Truth presented by Rev. A. Hocking

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                                     Rev. A. Hocking

A HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

This week, we begin a new year. 2009.  On Dec 31st most will be looking back over the year that has passed. Some with fond memories and gratitude for all that has taken place.  Others with sadness as they remember events that a year ago they never dreamed would happen. 

 

Many will be making New Year Resolutions. This year is going to be different!  Those habits are definitely going to go.  Those arguments with your partner are finished – from now on it’s sweetness and light all the way.   Yet in just a few days time….  How many of us manage to keep those New Year Resolutions for a week – never mind a whole year! Some have even given up trying and just don’t bother making resolutions.

 

Of course the whole point is that in order to have a new life, you have to have a new you!  Someone once said that to keep on doing the same things whilst expecting a different outcome is a mark of madness.  Jesus knew this. He said, “I have come so that you can have Life, and Life more abundant”.   He knew that there is only one way for things to change in our lives and that is for us to change.   He told a man called Nicodemus, one of the top priests of His day, “You must be born again”.  Paul the apostle took it a stage further when he said, “if any one is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, all things have become new”.

 

Maybe this year, you resolved never to make any more resolutions, because you are fed up of trying and failing to keep them. Why not try something different?   Go to Jesus Christ, admit you are a sinner and a failure, and ask Him to make you into a New Person. He will do it. You will see such a change in your life as you are literally ‘Born Again’ of the Spirit of God. 2009 will be a momentous year for you.

 

Go on – try it – and a Happy New Year to you!

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Meet the Ministers/Ministries introduced by Rev. E. Anderson

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                      Rev. Peter Cunningham

 

NEW PASTURES

FOR HOMELESS

 

Green Pastures has grown into a successful scheme to help the homeless

Founder AoG pastor Peter Cunningham spoke to Ato Erzan Essien

 

IT BEGAN WITH ONE HOUSE, TWO

people who needed somewhere to live and three steps of faith.

 

Nine years on, the incredible fruit that was born out of this is plain for all to see: a portfolio of more than 220 houses and a turnover in excess of £14 million.

 

Founded by Peter Cunningham, the pastor of Shoreline AoG Church in Southport, Green Pastures has grown into a nationally recognised organisation that is leading the way in providing effective and lasting solutions to hopelessness.

 

ln doing so, it is also uniting Christians of all denominations to bring about a fundamental change in the UK social housing sector.

 

Peter, 66, remembers how it started: ‘The need was there (in Southport) and we were praying one morning after a disappointment. We had approached the local council for help with setting up a hopelessness project, but although it had the money, it decided to use it for something else.

 

(We were reading the story of the Good Samaritan and God spoke to us – you see, the Good Samaritan put his hand in his own pocket to help the man and took responsibility for looking after him.

 

‘I had £6,000 in savings and another member of the church had just re-mortgaged her home for £20,000. My son was working and he put in £100 – what was left of his salary each month after bills.

 

‘We then bought a house, converted it into two flats and put two people in them.’

 

Since that small beginning, Green Pastures has invited investment from a wide range of believers. And despite the current financial turmoil both nationally and worldwide, Peter says that there has never been a better time to invest in the scheme.

 

‘It is the best time we have ever had for buying property. We pay five per cent interest on all money invested and up to £10,000 we return the next day if investors want their money back.’

 

So far, an estimated 1,000 people have been helped by the scheme since it began.

 

‘It is slightly different now in the way people come to us. Initially, we were housing people in our own town and they came to us by word of mouth or were referred adds Peter.

 

‘But four years ago we started partnerships with other towns that had similar problems with hopelessness as ourselves.’

 

The project has clearly been a huge success – particularly because the aim is not just to house people, but also to support them once they are in. Green Pastures works in partnership with an extensive network of pastoral and support workers to do just that.

 

However, Peter warns against complacency. ‘I think the problem of homelessness is getting worsen.’  He was also critical of the way the problem was being addressed officially.

 

The fact is the government – local and national – are both massaging the (homelessness) figures – the councils because they have their funding cut if they don’t reduce hopelessness, but their methods of counting rough sleepers for instance, is flawed.

 

‘It is a farce what local government is doing. Housing Justice has just done a count in Westminster in London and found 250 sleeping rough. Both Westminster and the City of London are using spray wagons (high-powered water jets) to get rid of rough sleepers in their areas. They say it is to clean up the streets in time for the London Olympics.

 

At the moment, in terms of the down- turn in the property market, the government said it wants to build 250,000 new homes but it won’t even achieve 100,000.

 

‘Even its empty homes policy is in tatters. There are 800,000 homes lying empty and there is also the problem of landlords double marking (the practice of putting more people in a home that it is designed for)

 

‘We visited a home in Liverpool recently where there were 30 people living in one house.

 

’Peter adds that hopelessness is an issue that affects the whole of the UK, but when he founded Green Pastures he never envisaged the scheme being this big. He says, ‘We are working with people all over the UK, from Land’s End to John O’ Groats who need help.’

 

But the vision for Green Pastures incorporates a much broader hope – for Christian unity. Peter says, ‘At that moment in time when God spoke to us’ he said, “Trust those people you do not know.” Jesus’ final prayer was that we would be one church, so we have grown and keep growing.’

 

And in light of this, some of the UK’s largest churches, including Abundant Life

in Bradford and Holy Trinity Brompton, London, are developing links with Green Pastures. ‘If the church would wake up and stick its money in a Christian organisation like us, we could affect change in the social housing sector within five years. God has opened a door of opportunity’,’ says Peter.

 

And with Christmas being the time of year when the issue of hopelessness traditionally comes to the forefront of the public consciousness, what would be the one thing that Peter would like people to think about during this time? People need homes for 52 weeks of the year; so do what Jesus told us to do and look after the poor.’

 

For details, visit http://www.greenpastureshousfng.co.uk

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Prayer Dynamicsfurnished by Rev. E. Anderson

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                                      Rev. E. Anderson

FOR CHILDLIKENESS

Prayers of Rev. Peter Marshall

 

FORGIVE us, Lord, that as we grow to maturity, our faith is blighted with doubts, withered with worry, tainted with sophistication. We pray that Thou wilt make us like children again in faith – not childish, but childlike in the simplicity of a faith that is willing to trust Thee even though we cannot see what tomorrow will bring. 

 

We ask Thee to give to each of us that childlike faith, that simplicity of mind which is willing to lay aside all egotism and conceit, which recognises vanity for what it is – an empty show, which knows that we are Incapable of thinking the thoughts of God, which is willing to be humble again.

 

Then may we feel once more as do our children who whisper their love to Thee, who trace with chubby little fingers the pictures of Jesus in q picture book – those pictures that portray Thee, Lord Jesus, with a hurt lamb in Thy arms or a child on Thy knee. Help us, even now, to feel again like that, that we may V as loving, as trusting, as innocent, as grateful, as affectionate.

 

And as we are willing to kneel again as children, then shall we discover for ourselves the glory Thou hast revealed, and  the wonder of it gripping our hearts and preparing them for Thy peace. So shall we, along with our children, enter into the Kingdom of God, and know it, and feel it, and rejoice in it. ln Thy name, who didst dare to come to earth as a little child we pray. Amen.

 

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Wisdom’s Ways provided by the late Rev. A. Linford

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Rev. A. Linford, before his decease, was recognized as a good, great and interesting Bible teacher in the Assemblies of God Fellowship for many years. He was a well-loved Bible College lecturer and writer that bequeathed a tremendous amount of Biblical material in his generation. What a legacy he has left to be researched and brought forth to refresh our day! We shall be using such on this site: His writings from the book of Proverbs and also his Editorials that he wrote for the Redemption Tidings when he was its editor. I trust you will enjoy and appreciate his inspired teaching.

 

 WISDOM’S PLEA

 

“Doth not wisdom cry?”  – Proverbs 8: 1-4

 

What a contrast to the turgid waters of the last two chapters! Here we are led by the clear, deep waters of wisdom. We leave the dark and fetid marsh for the clean and bracing uplands; the harlot-folly is displaced by the lady wisdom, who unlike the scheming adulterous who lurks furtively in the darkness, stands boldly in the market place offering her wares of wisdom and understanding free to all

 

Wisdom is open to all: We have already seen that this wisdom is more than mental acumen – helpful though that may be, it is rather a moral attitude that accepts the offer of a divine life-style, God’s ground plan for holy, happy and successful living. As Count Leo Tolstoi said: ”Christianity is the understanding of life”. Here wisdom is depicted as a noble woman taking her stance on an elevated place so that all may see and hear her offer. There is nothing furtive or sly about God’s ways with men. ”This thing was not done in a corner,” said Paul – Acts 26:26 – the Gospel secret is an open secret, calling only on the response of the hearer to activate its saving power.

 

Wisdom is opportune for all: “By the way, in the places of the paths”, that is, where paths meet the cross-roads of life are the places of decision. lt is here that wisdom stands, offering her guidance. “What is best for me ?”  “Which way shall I go?” we ask. Wisdom has the answer – “The will of God, that is best.” The word ”opportunity” means to lie over against the port waiting for the tide to flow that we may set sail. Even so, when life’s opportunities arise, wisdom is there to direct us, to be our compass, to arrange our cargo, to direct our course.  Life’s beginnings augur well when wisdom is in control.

 

Wisdom is offered to all: Two Hebrew words for ”man” are used here. The first, “O men”, is ish, men of high degree’; the second, ”sons of man’s, is adam, sons of the earth, common man. Whether we are one of the elite or one of the masses, God’s wisdom is offered to us: God is no respecter of person. Wisdom’s call is to all men of all classes. All that she asks of us is a humble response: then shed bountifully disposes of her wares.

 

PRAYER:

Let me live according to thy life-style today, O Lord!

 

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Points to Ponder collated by Rev. E. Anderson

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                                        Rev. E. Anderson

MINISTRY IN THE WORK PLACE

 

Choose to Love                                                rather than Hate

 

Choose to Smile                                               rather than Frown

 

Choose to build                                                           rather than Destroy

 

Choose to persevere                                        rather than quit

 

Choose to praise                                              rather than Gossip

 

Choose to heal                                                 rather than wound

 

Choose to Give                                                 rather than Grasp

 

Choose to Act                                                 rather than delay

 

Choose to Forgive                                            rather than curse

 

Choose to pray                                                rather than despair

 

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Great Stories served by Rev. E. Anderson

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                                        Rev. E. Anderson

IT’S TOO LATE

Ivor Powell

 

 

Tne Lake District is one of the most wonderful parts of England, and during convention time, also one of the most hallowed. To see a glorious sunset receded in the placid waters of Derwentwater; to see the massive hills lifting their majestic peaks to the sky: and to mingle there with thousands of other Christians, is a foretaste of heaven’s joy.

 

My first visit to Keswick took place in the early nineteen-thirties, and I have always remembered the soul-stirring Bible Readings given by the Rev. W. W. Martin. The Pilgrim Preachers. whom I had recently joined, were working in Kendal, and the leader had decided that one half of the company should enjoy the first part of the convention while the other boys worked; then the other workers would attend the meetings while the returning brethren continued the open-air campaign.

 

I was only a young preacher, and the great crowds, the overwhelming enthusiasm, and above all. the sense of God’s presence in the huge tent made a deep impression upon my soul.I attended every meeting, and have often repeated the story with which Mr. Martin closed one of his addresses.

 

He described how he was asked to visit a sick woman. The informant declared the need to be urgent; and when Mr. Martin arrived, he knew the information had been correct. The woman was very sick and had not long to live. When he tried to speak about the Gospel, the sufferer interrupted to say, “It’s no use. It’s too late.” He reassured her that if the Lord could pardon the dying thief, He could do likewise for her.

 

She persisted in her earlier statement, “It’s too Late.” She was very stubborn, and seemed determined to die as she had lived – without Christ. She volunteered the information that when she was a young woman in her teens, the Lord Jesus had asked for her life. She had heard His call, and had deliberately rejected His claims. She did not wish Christ or any other to interfere in her plans. She intended to have a good time, and that was that. She repeated, “It’s too late now.” In spite of the earnest endeavours of the preacher, she refused to change her opinion.

 

Mr. Martin explained to the huge audience that thoughts of this woman haunted him by day and night. Constantly he remembered her plight; but although he returned on several occasions, each interview ended in disappointment.

 

Finally, he was met at the door by a housekeeper or neighbour. who said, “It’s no use coming now. sir; she died yesterday.” Hoping there had been a last-minute change in the attitude of the sick woman, he asked if she had left any message. The lady shook her head and answered; No. sir; her last words were, “It’s too late. It’s too late.”

 

At the conclusion of that memorable meeting, thousands of people went silently from the tent. They knew that once again God had used His honoured servant. They were destined to remember the message for a long time to come.

 

At the end of my book We Saw it Happen, I have described a similar event which occurred an Mount Snowdon in North Wales. The length of one’s stay on earth is perhaps the most uncertain element in life. (Because the span of man’s life was said to be threescore years and ten, it does not always follow that people live to reach that age.

 

The Word of God insists that “Now is the day of salvation.” Isaiah wrote, “Come now, and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool “ – Isaiah 1 : 18.

 

Yet there is a graver note in the Bible. God declares that His Spirit will not always strive with man; and who can tell when the Almighty may decide to cease calling the excessively arrogant and unrepentant sinner? Every minister should preach his sermon as if it were the last he would ever deliver. lf our lack of passionate interest; if our formal half-heartedness lulls people into a sense of false security: and if such people are found wanting m the day of Judgment we may have cause for everlasting remorse.

 

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Sermon Starters provided by Rev. E. Anderson

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                                       Rev. E. Anderson

BE PREPARED !

By W. Barclay

 

It would make a tremendous difference if every congregation would do certain things.

 

  • When we come to church, we ought to come prepared.

 

There are so very few people who make any preparation for worship at all. They have to hurry to get ready; they have to hurry down the road; they take their places almost at the last moment; and there is no preparation at all.

 

If every person who comes to church would, before he comes, or even on the road there think of God for just a moment or two,  and say a prayer for himself and for the preacher and the people who will meet in worship, it would make a whole world of difference.

 

  • We should come seeking.

 

To come to the services of the church should never be simply a matter of habit,  a burden of duty,  a hallmark of respectability, the satisfying of a convention. It should be a deliberate attempt to come out of the world and to and  find contact with God.

 

One of the great secrets of success in any of the business of life is to know

what we want, when we are doing a thing; and when we come to church we should want God.

 

  • We should come determined to give all of ourselves.

 

He who comes to church only to get will, in the end, get nothing. We should come determined to give our interest, our prayer, our devotion, our sympathy.

The success of any gathering, the happiness of any party, is always dependent on the people who are prepared to give themselves to the fellowship of the occasion.

 

So with the church. Sometimes we hear people say, “I’ve stopped going to church, because I don’t get anything out of the services. We might well ask them, what have you tried to give to the services in loving devotion and in humble fellowship with your fellow-men ?”

 

If we bring, not only our physical bodies, but also our hearts, our love, our devotion, our prayers to the services of the church, we shall certainly go out again in the company of him who is “the Light of the world.”

 

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A Time to Laugh served by Rev. E. Anderson

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                                    Rev. E. Anderson

SUDDENLY SHOCKED!

 

One day my mother was out and my dad was looking after me.

 

I was maybe 2 1/2 years old and had just recovered from a bad cold. Someone had given me a little tea set as a get-well gift and it was one of my favourite toys.

 

Dad was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a

little cup of “tea,” which was just water.  After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such good tea, my mom came home.

 

Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea. (“It’s just the cutest thing!”) My mom waited and sure enough, I came down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy. She watched him drink it, then said (as only a mother would)…”Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is from the toilet?”

 

 

IN FOR A PUSH!

 

A man is in bed with his wife when there is knocking on the door. He rolls over and looks at his clock. It's half past three in the morning.
 
"I'm not getting out of bed at this time," he thinks, and rolls over.
 
Then, a louder knock follows.
 
"Aren't you going to answer that?" says his wife.
 
So he drags himself out of bed, and goes downstairs. He opens the door and there is a man standing at the door. It didn't take the homeowner long to realize the man was drunk.
 
"Hi there," slurs the stranger, "Can you give me a push?"
 
"No, get lost, it's half past three. I was in bed," says the man and slams the door.
 
He goes back up to bed and tells his wife what happened and she says "Dave, that wasn't very nice of you. Remember that night we broke down in the pouring rain on the way to pick the kids up from the baby-sitter and you had to knock on that man's house to get us started again? What would have happened if he'd told us to get lost?"
 
"But the guy was drunk," says the husband.
 
"It doesn't matter," says the wife. "He needs our help and it would be the Christian thing to help him."
 
So the husband gets out of bed again, gets dressed, and goes downstairs. He opens the door, and not being able to see the stranger anywhere he shouts, "Hey, do you still want a push?" and he hears a voice cry out, "Yeah, please!"
 
So, still being unable to see the stranger, he shouts: "Where are you?"
 
And the stranger replies: "I'm over here, on your swing."

 

 

Something to think about!

Don’t learn safety rules simply by accident.

 

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Children’s Page assembled by Rev. E. Anderson

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                                       Rev. E. Anderson

THE KEEPER OF THE SPRING

 

THE LATE PETER MARSHALL, an eloquent speaker and for several years chaplain of the United States Senate, used to love to tell the story of ‘the Keeper of the Spring’ a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps.

 

The old gentleman had been hired by a young town council to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hilled removing the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of Water. By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill – wheels of various businesses located near the water turned daybed night, farms lands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.

 

Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semi-annual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man? Why do we keep him year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn’t necessary any longer!”  By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.

 

For several weeks nothing changed. By early autumn the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A couple days later the water was much darker.

 

Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the bunks and a foul odor was soon detected. The flywheels moved slower, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left as did the tourists. Clammy angers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

 

Quickly the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they hired back the old keeper of the spring . . . . and within a few weeks the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps once again.

 

Catherine Marshall, Mr. Jones, Meet the Master

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