Focus

                                                 

                                         Rev. E. Anderson

SUPERFLUOUS ENERGY

“the glory of young is their strength” –  Proverbs 20..29

“You, young men, …,are strong” – 1 John 2:14

Both Old and New Testaments emphasize one of the characteristics of youth – STRENGTH: boundless energy, audacious endeavour, brave (though at time brash) enterprise. It is the ‘glory’ – that is, the superb quality – of youth. Vibrant youth attempts the impossible and achieves the incredible. There is no horizon to the vision and venture of this active age.

But this surplus energy needs guidance and control. Just as water needs channels to flow through, so the mental and physical potential of youth needs direction and discipline to achieve its best ends and fullest exploitation. Sport, exploration, adventure are all areas that give scope to full-blooded youth.

John gives a different emphasis to adolescent achievement. An old man of great experience, and apostle of rich inspiration, he makes it clear that there are excursions into spiritual realms that can excel in. Their innate strength can launch them into divine of experience and enable them to accomplish great things for God. Their zeal for spiritual things can drive them, like cataracts of power, down channels of service. And the source and sustenance of this inner energy is “the word of God (that) abideth in you”.  The dynamic agency gives victory over Satan’s attacks and all the temptations the world imposes. Youths surplus energy thus becomes absorbed in noble deeds, in godly living, in performing great things for God.

                                   

Christian Testimony

                                   

                                       Florries Wedding

STILL GOING STRONG AT 94

WHEN 94-YEAR-OLD FLORENCE Botham was given the news that she had a tumour in her bowel, she took the news rather well. Because the great-great- grandmother has seen her fair share of trials and tribulations in her life, but has always had her faith in God to lean on in times of trouble.

Florence, who has attended Zion Assembly of God Church in Chesterfield for the past 82 years, is still a member of the church prayer line and remains a rock for the many people she has disciples over the years.

She still remembers the day and year of her salvation and her testimony still inspires the people around her.

She says, ‘In October 1927 the Welsh evangelist, Stephen Jeffreys, held a campaign in the skating rink on West Bars in Chesterfield where 2,000 people heard the gospel over a three-week period. I went along with some of my friends and it was there that I made my Christian commitment on 27 October at the age of 12. After this I left the gospel mission and joined a Bible class which was being organised specifically for young teens at Glad Tidings Hall on Chatsworth Road (later to become Zion AoG Church). It was here that I heard about water baptism and the Holy Spirit. We were not pressurized in any way but l decided that I wanted to take another step in my Christian walk and in January 1928 l was baptised in water. In July of the same year I received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Florence married John Botham in 1937 and went on to have to daughters. When one daughter, Mavis, became ill with pneumonia and meningitis at just 18 months old, Florence and her husband turned to the Lord.

Mavis, now 70, tells the story herself: ‘That was in the 1940’s ‘when penicillin had only just been discovered and wasn’t readily available, so I wasn’t expected to live. Each time the doctor came to the house he was expecting to see the curtains drawn and I’d be gone but I just kept hanging on. In the end my parents prayed, “Lord we’re praying for her to get better but if it’s your will that you take her, then your will be done”. And after that I started to get better. To recover from pneumonia and meningitis without any antibiotics was nothing short of a miracle.

‘And if you were to recover from meningitis there was a strong chance of being left with a disability; but I was perfectly fine’.

And when John died unexpectedly Florence didn’t lose her faith. Mavis explains, ‘Dad came home from his shift on the ambulance service and just didn’t get up the next day – he was 52. He’d had a heart attack. That was on the Tuesday, the funeral was on the Saturday and on Sunday morning Mum was in church playing the piano. One man who was there said to her, ”Seeing you on that piano this morning has spoken more to me than any sermon I’ve ever heard’.

Her testimony has been her faith no matter what. She’s always said we don’t testify then, the minute bad things happen, start questioning God’.

Florence is always there when people need her. Mavis says, ‘she still continues to inspire and pray for people because that’s just the way she is. Over the years she’s worked with children and worked with the youth group. Members of the youth who she worked with and are now grown up, still ring her for advice and prayer’.

Florence adds, ‘I am still attending the same church after 82 years and although I am no longer able to get involved because of physical limitations – at 94 years of age the bones are beginning to creak and my eyesight is not so good! I am still part of the church ‘Prayer Line’ and remain available to pray for the needs of others.

                               

Leadership Factors

                                       

                                        Rev. E. Anderson

LESSONS FROM A LOUSY LEADER – LUKE 16: 1-13

Taken from John Maxwell’s Leadership Bible

 Jesus’ story of an unrighteous manager teaches us lessons about shrewd business and a few subtle truths about leadership. This lousy leader . . .

1. Violated rule number one: Leadership is not to be used for personal benefit – v.1

He forgot that leadership is about giving, not getting. Leaders lose the right to be selfish.

2. Learned that a leader cannot hide his heart – vv.1, 2.

Leadership rises or falls to the level of the leader’s integrity. Leaders are vulnerable.

3. Was proactive in facing problems – v. 3. Lie surmised how he could address to: problem. Good leaders aren’t afraid to face reality.

4. Understood the value of relationships – v. 4.

He utilised the relationships he had developed already. He received a return on his investment.

5. Understood the nature of his influence – vv. 4,5.   

Since leadership is influence, leaders know with whom they have influence-and they go there.

6. Learned the keys to motivating others – vv. 5-7.

Everyone is motivated in different ways. He found ways to make friends and get results.

7. Reminds us of the value of godly leadership – vv. 8-10.

In the end, his master praised his shrewdness; but Jesus has a deeper lesson for us.

                                 

                                  

A Time to Laugh

                                   

                                Rev. E. Anderson

MY JOB HISTORY

My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned – couldn’t concentrate.

Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the ax.

After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn’t suited for it, mainly because it was a so-so job.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was too exhausting.

I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn’t cut the mustard.

My best job was being a musician, but eventually I found I wasn’t noteworthy.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn’t have any patience.

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn’t live on my net income.

I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work way just too draining.

I got a job at a zoo feeding giraffes, but I was fired because I wasn’t up to it.
 
After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working at Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.

So, then I retired … and found out I was perfect for the job!

                                       

Powerful Quotes

                                         

                                        Rev. L. Goodwin

GOOD QUOTES

ACTION

“Draw not your bow until your arrow is fixed.”

“This great end of life is not knowledge but action.” (T.H. Huxley)

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” (Dale Carnegie)

“Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; so does inaction sap the vigours of the mind.” (Leonardo Da Vinci)

ACTIVITY

“Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.”  (Socrates)

“Much of our activity these days is nothing more than a cheap anaesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.”

“Busyness rapes relationships. It substitutes shallow frenzy for deep friendship. It promises satisfying dreams but delivers hollow nightmares. It feeds the ego but starves the inner man. It fills a calendar but fractures a family. It cultivates a programme but ploughs under priorities.”  (Charles Swindoll)

When the Crystal Palace Exhibition opened in 1851, people flocked to London’s Hyde Park to behold the marvels. One of the greatest marvels back then was steam. Steam ploughs were displayed, steam locomotives, steam looms, steam organs & even a steam cannon. Of all the great exhibits that year, the first-prize winner was a steam invention with 7,000 parts. When it was turned on, its pulleys, whistles, bells, & gears made a lot of noise, but, ironically, the contraption didn’t do a thing! 7,000 moving parts making a lot of commotion… but having no practical use. With the high-tech era we live in, it’s easy to confuse activity with accomplishment, to be fooled into thinking that the sound of gears & pulleys is the sound of something important being done. Is that true of your life? Of your church? Are there hundreds, even thousands, of parts spinning & turning & making a lot of noise, but accomplishing very little?

                                        

 

 

 

Just a Thought

                                        

                                        Rev. A. Linford

CRIME DOESN’T PAY

“He who in pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment” – Psalm 7:1

There is a common perception that getting ahead in the marketplace often requires compromise of character. Fudge the numbers. Shade the truth. Hide the facts. Ethics give way to self-interest or corporate interests-or both. And reality tells us that such methods often produce results: a promotion, a deal with a new client, or a windfall of opportunity for the company.

The Scriptures teach that there is a price to pay for such shortcuts, of course- if not here, then in eternity. David speaks of it in Psalm 7 when he says, “He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit hehas made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head” -vv. 15-16. That’s a pretty clear picture of the old expression “What goes around, comes around”.

The scary thing, though, is that it isn’t only nonbelievers who walk into this trap. Followers of Jesus are no strangers to temptation. And while Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins, we know we must answer for our actions. Furthermore, we know that when we are walking in sin, we are walking out of fellowship with Christ. That’s why Jesus has us pray that God would “lead us not into temptation”. He wants us to avoid the trap.

David describes the trap in Psalm 7:14. First, you’ are “pregnant with evil” (ungodly desires); second, you “conceive trouble” (you act on those desires in a sinful way); and third, you give “birth to disillusionment” (you die to your sins). James uses the same analogy in James 1:13-15 explaining that although temptations are inevitable, they are not from God and can be resisted with God’s help. 

Have you been resisting temptation lately? Your effectiveness as a steward of all God has given you depends on how well you manage to stay out of the trap.

                                  

Dave’s Snippets

                                  Dr. David Allen

THE VISITATION AND THE SUPERSCRIPTION

Most  people   link the visit of Three Wise Men with Christmastide, but in the Calendar  of many major Christian traditions this visit  is termed  the Epiphany –  a Greek  word indicating the  “showing forth” of Christ to the Gentiles or to non Jewish  peoples or nations of the world.

The story of the visit of the Wise Men has been much embroidered and much preached upon.  Scripture does not give much detail about the men and simply says they came, directed by a star, from the “East”. Originally derived from the Greek, “Magi”, probably indicates they were   experts in astronomy and astrology who came from Babylonia or Persia and who may have been Zoroastrians – followers of a Persian sage and prophet who was a monotheist and who spoke of God as Ahura Mazda, a deity of light and fire.  As the Hebrew Scriptures were probably available in that area, because many Jews had spent time there and some had made it their home, the Magi  might very well  have noticed, from  Numbers 24:17,  the significance  of  a bright new star in the firmament.     

As we have said, much has been preached on the Magi, particularly on their gifts as indicating their knowledge of the child’s identity and  destiny. However, as the term Epiphany  signifies,   the  main point is that  those “foreigners”  from afar  demonstrate  that Jesus, though “born in Jewry”, was God’s gift to all men and  women  and to  every country, tribe  and  nation, near and far.

That was the note struck by the Magi at the birth of Christ; and, indeed, the same note was struck again on the day Jesus died. Some hard-line   Jews demanded that the superscription    inscribed on the Cross should have been written “He claimed to be the king of the Jews”. Pilate refused to change it: and so by the command of a Gentile the sovereignty and universality of Christ was proclaimed in a trilingual inscription (Latin, Hebrew, Greek) embracing the entire world. The Cross stands above all empire, religion and culture!  

                              

                                

Great Stories

                                         

                                     Rev. E. Anderson

DON’T HOPE, FRIEND – DECIDE

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about – the kind that sneaks upon you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jetway, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father see, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes, and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps  one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from, her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder motionless, in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his  oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, “I  love you so much”. 

They stared into each others eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment, then realised how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I were invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?”

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those,” he replied, Without breaking his gave from his lovely wife’s face.

“Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked.

The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile, “Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace ( and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!2

The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with a forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope friend, . . . .decide”.

Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!”  With that, he and his family turned and strode away together. 

I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, |What’cha looking at?” Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, “My future”.

                           

Past Illustrious Men and Ministries

ANTHONY NORRIS GROVES

Anthony Norris Groves (1795- 1854) was the founder of Brethren missions, but also the pioneer of faith based missions and missions among Arab nations. Groves worked as a missionary in Baghdad and India.

He just retained his Bible, his notes and a mat as personal possessions during his missionary travels. He was sent out as a missionary from Bristol, by his good friend, George Mϋller. He longed to see the establishment of a national Indian Church led from the outset by indigenous leaders and without the necessity of foreign support 

Groves believed that the Holy Spirit would be outpoured upon their missionary work to empower their apostolic methods with apostolic results. At one point he believed in the restoration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to aid global evangelism but by the end of his life he had reverted back to a cessationist viewpoint. 

Nevertheless a young Indian evangelist that Groves had inspired called John Arulappan, would be later used in 1860, after Groves’ death, in a revival that included Pentecostal gifts such as speaking in tongues and interpretation. Arulappan raised up an apostolic team that evangelised and planted churches, which lived by faith and were led by the Holy Spirit.  

Indian believers who functioned in the Pentecostal power, which latterly Groves himself became dismissive of, fulfilled his vision of an indigenous Church in India.

                                   

Sermons of Note

                            

Rev. E. Anderson

ENTERING IN AND EXPERIENCING NEW LEVELS WITH GOD

Reading    Genesis 5: 21-24

Introduction

THE GRAVE DANGER: One of the particular dangers that confront Christians within their spiritual experience is that of reaching a certain plateau or stage, they settle down there and lack any desire or will to move on to something more and better. A spiritual malaise takes over and they become comfortable and at ease with where they are and fail to see that there is so much more to be opened up in their lives and to be accomplished. They somehow refuse to be stirred and animated with the fact that God has something infinitely more to achieve in and through them. There is the need to be awakened and challenged by the Lord to know that this is not what He chooses. Challenged and changed is the divine order.

QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED: Do I cease to have any greater spiritual aspirations within my being? Do I cease to know the freshness of divine inspiration and quickening my life? Am I contented with where I am and what I have done?

FINISHING STRONG: The thing that matters is that there is the desire and will within to finish strong and be at the peak of divine performance. It is the will, plan and purpose of God that everyone should finish up in a healthy, wholesome and productive manner.

In the workings of God with men He is ever seeking to lift people into a greater level of life, experience and existence. There are so many new levels to be obtained as portrayed in the life and experience of many within the Scriptures.

1/.  THERE IS A NEW LEVEL OF DIVINE COMMUNION AND FELLOWSHIP TO BE DISCOVERED – Genesis 5: 21-24

Enoch was to encounter God in a greater way in his life at 65. The Lord had something better for him at this particular moment and stage within his life. He had shown some commitment to the Lord and known Him in some measured degree, but the Lord had other plans in mind. Enoch was to be lifted up into something more inspiring and illuminating and that would be more rewarding. The Lord desired that he should come into a closer relationship with Him that would prove to be a consistent and ever-deepening communion. Life would be seen, interpreted and expressed in a different quality of being and existence because of moving up into a higher realm.  Enoch was prepared to leave other factors behind so that this would be so. He would become an intimate and associate with God.

2/.  THERE IS A NEW LEVEL OF PRINCIPLE AND PRACTICE TO BE EMBRACED – LIFE OF FAITH

It was in late life that God was to break through to a man by the name of Abraham and teach him the principle in which life should be lived in relation to Himself. The ‘faith-factor’ was to be the thing that the Lord would seek to create and cultivate within this man, causing him to believe in an extraordinary manner and to witness God performing some incredible things on his behalf. The thing that was going to make him different and cause him to make a difference was the introduction of simple faith in God and His Word – see Hebrews 11: 8-19; Genesis 12: 1-4; Romans 4: 17-21.

One of the particular tasks of Christ was to make the apostolic band a group of men who would become great believers and move on to greater levels of faith. The Lord was ever pressing this factor home, seeking to stimulate and generate faith in them so that they could go on to greater expressions of this spiritual dynamic – Mark 12-24. Getting rid of the heart of unbelief is essential if there is to be any greater manifestations of faith.

3/.  THERE IS A NEW LEVEL OF OPORTUNITY TO BE APPRECIATED AND SEIZED

Within the outworking of Christian life the Lord presents opportunities to move out into some-thing that will be more rewarding and fulfilling. Sometimes the nest has to be severely dealt with so that there is a stepping out into something mores significant. Joseph had to be somehow moved from the comfort zone of his own home before other things of worth would come to fruition.

In his case, it took the wicked conspiracy of his brothers to get him away from home into a completely different new environment to get things moving for-ward to achieve the divine dreams. He could have lived in that settled and sure surrounding and never have moved on and out to achieve a great destiny. Even in Potiphar’s home he had to lay hold of a new opportunity that presented itself of making good and of establishing credibility and gift. Later, when in prison, amidst a negative situation, he takes hold of an opportunity of effect and change. When he is finally exalted he uses his new position well.

4/.  THERE IS A NEW LEVEL OF LIFE AND SERVICE TO BE EXPERIENCED

Even when all seemed failure with probably no great prospect ahead there came, as seen in Moses, the timing of God to take hold of a new day and situation. Even though every factor was negative and presented tremendous impossibility, yet the Lord lifted this man on to a great new level, for himself and his people. He was in a real routine of life where nothing really great was happening when God broke in with revelation and inspiration.

He offered Moses quite a task and job of bringing release to a nation of slaves. It meant mov-ing out from looking after a flock of sheep to give outstanding leadership to a depressed and despised people. God would not allow him to back off but challenged him to take on the role, and history proves how well Moses fitted in to achieve a fabulous task. He moved from the ordinary into the extra-ordinary and enjoyed the full backing of the Almighty in his life and service. It was far better being employed by the Lord than spending the remaining of one’s days in the backside of the de-ert!

5/. THERE IS A NEW LEVEL OF ANOINTING AND MINISTRY TO BE KNOWN

Elisha sensed that he had been birthed for something greater in life that he had entered into. His time with Elijah was a very meaningful and profitable exercise. He enjoyed attending to the prophet in his needs and seeing and hearing him minister and no doubt gleaning from him as much as he could with respect to Elijah’s former ministry. Attending to this man of God had been a privilege and he was glad he had been able to serve at that level. But within was the conviction and inspiration that there was some-thing more for him.

The departure of Elijah for him was to mark a decisive change and a movement forward into a way of life that was to be different. For that to happen he knew he had to be prepared and blessed for it, so the rich desire to experience a divine enduement of power that would ensure his ministry for God. As soon as the mantle fell, he seized the opportunity of breaking out into a more dynamic role for God. He not only aspired for it: he saw it come to pass. That day spelled out a change in his calling!

6/.  THERE IS A NEW LEVEL OF WITNESS TO BE ENGAGED UPON

Little did the apostle Paul know on his conversion what he was going to be challenged with in terms of ministry and mission? He was not going to be allowed to settle down and manifest an obscure role. It was to be revealed to him that he was going to be a man who would be called upon to preach to the Gentiles the Gospel of Christ. Prior to conversion he had not time for such, reared a real Jew! – Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3: 8.

Peter was given this opportunity but seemingly did not fully enter into this particular ministry – Acts 10. Did he miss out on something that could have been quite dramatic and exciting?

CONCLUSION

Where are you at this particular stage of your life and service? Satisfied? Content? Not very concerned? Etc.

Are you ready for a divine interruption and intervention when God is about to spell something different and unique out for you? Are you prepared for the next level?

Do not peter out but make it your business to finish fresh and strong.

                             

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