Sermon Starters

                                        

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

This is a simple outline for you to think about and meditate on. The introduction, main thoughts and conclusion need further material to be added. It is an outline for you to expand, develop more fully and fill in to spiritual profit and inspiration.

BE FRUITFUL

Word for Today

Reading John 15

Text     Genesis 1: 28

Jesus said, “. . .  every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” – John 15:2 NKJV.

Without periodic pruning a vine will only produce a fraction of its potential harvest. Vineyards have only one purpose: to produce grapes. Energy spent on anything else is wasted.

The pruner has four things in mind:

Removing what’s dead or dying; making sure sunlight gets to the fruit-bearing branches; increasing the size and quality of the grapes; encouraging new grapes to develop.

To make room for the kind of abundance Christ redeemed you for, He will cut away the parts of your life that are draining precious time and energy from what’s truly important to Him. To accomplish this, He will even risk you misunderstanding His methods. His purpose for your life requires the cutting away of bad habits and attitudes, wrong relationships, lesser priorities, and anything that distract you from your highest calling. Are you praying for God’s blessing in your life? Are you asking Him to make you more fruitful in His nice? Then get ready for the shears! Pruning is how God answers such prayers. Sometimes we blame the devil or other people fort he loss of certain things in our lives. No, ‘He prunes’.

Today, if God is pruning you:

1/. Pay attention; don’t waste this season of preparation.

2/. Ask God whether you’re being pruned for greater fruitfulness or disciplined because of sin – there’s a difference. If its sin, repent and get back on track as quickly as possible.

3/. If your response to the pruning process is right, you’ll begin to move from barrenness to blessing.

                             

Messages of Note

                               

                                    Rev. Ian Watson

RESOLVE TO MAKE A FIRM DECISION

National Leadership Team member Ian Watson urges to resolve to do the right thing

Resolve means to making a firm decision to do something, and many of you reading this article may have had to resolve to achieve something in the past that might have been difficult to accomplish but it was your resolve that got you there.

It may have been saving for a special holiday or maybe to attend the gym. It could have been something to do with your devotional time with God or a resolution to read through the bible in a year. When we use the term, ‘he or she resolved to do something’ we often think of difficult tasks – normally a bit out of our reach.

However, as a Christian and a leader I find on: of the things I have to resolve to do daily that we probably think should come easy to us is ‘to do the right thing’. In other words, resolving, making a firm decision to live with integrity. Integrity is about being whole and complete and it’s often in what should seem to be the simple areas of life we can struggle to get this right. The apostle Paul certainly intimated the things he shouldn’t do he found himself doing and the thing he knew he should do… well he found himself lacking in that area.

All our knowledge of theology and doctrine and years of experience, position and office count for little if we lack integrity.

One of the passages of the Bible I love to read is that of some of David’s mighty men. The first being Eleazar who, like all the rest of the army, taunted the Philistines – they were probably all mouthing off from a distance. Heaven alone knows what they must have threatened to do. It was probably a bit like the pre-match face- to-face of a big boxing contest. However, when the Philistines decided to charge down the hill and Eleazar withdrew his sword and went to meet them, I wonder how long he had advanced before he realised how quiet it was behind him.

His mates couldn’t be seen for dust as they ran in the opposite direction! His task was now to finish the job on his own, which he did – till his hand froze to his sword as he defeated the Philistine army.

How did Eleazar model Integrity? Simply by doing what he said and keeping his word; he was authentic. How often have we promised people or God things and then not fulfilled them? Words come easy – integrity in the form of authenticity doesn’t.

The amusing thing is that all his mates came back when he’d finished, but only to strip the dead. That’s human nature, people like to jump on the bandwagon when things are going well.

Another guy called Shammah was defending a field full of lentils which initially sounds quite baffling. A field full of treasure, your comrades or with oil beneath the land I could understand, but lentils – the bits left at the bottom of your bowl when you’ve finished your soup – would you risk your life for them? But it wasn’t about the value of the field it was simply about defending what was theirs. Again, it was simply a matter of doing the right thing even when the logic doesn’t stack up.

Similarly, it’s the little things that don’t seem so important that we can quickly overlook or explain away. ‘It’s not much ‘Everyone does it-? ‘Nobody will know’ etc. But it’s these little things that can let the big story of God in our lives down.

I’ve also noticed that we can be good at what I call selective integrity; you know, coming down strongly on some issues, but turning a blind eye to others. I have certainly known a number of cases where people have come down heavily with people in the area of immorality and certainly been quite graceless, yet in their own lives, when it came to employment expenses, tax claims or taking something from work it is quickly justified or passed off with comments like, ‘they can afford it’ ‘they owe me anyway’ and so on.

We may resolve to do lots of challenging things with our time, life and finance, and that’s great. However, in all that greatness let’s not overlook the daily challenge of resolving to do to: right thing.

                            

Illustrations that Light up Life

                                         

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

A POINT OF CONTACT

Bob Weber, past president of Kiwanis International, told this story. He had spoken to a club in a small town and was spending the night with a farmer on the outskirts of the community. He had just relaxed on the front porch when a newsboy delivered the evening paper. The boy noted the sign Puppies for Sale. The boy got off his bike and said to the farmer, ”How much do you want for the pups, mister?”. “Twenty-five dollars, son”. The boy’s face dropped.

“Well, sir, could I at least see them anyway/”

The farmer whistled, and in a moment the mother dog came bounding around the corner of the house tagged by four of the cute puppies, wagging their tails and yipping happily. At last, another pup came straggling around the house, dragging one hind leg. “What’s the matter with that puppy, mister?” the boy asked.

“Well, Son, that puppy is crippled. We took her to the vet and the doctor took an X ray. The pup doesn’t have a hip joint and that leg will never be right”.

To the amazement of both men, the boy dropped the bike, reached for his collection bag and took out a fifty-cent piece. ”Please, mister,” the boy pleaded, “I want to buy that pup. I’ll pay you fifty cents every week until the twenty-five dollars is paid. Honest I will, mister”.

The farmer replied, “But, Son, you don’t seem to understand. That pup wll never, never be able to run or jump. That pup is going to be a cripple forever. Why in the world would you want such a useless pup as that”.

The boy paused for a moment, then reached down and pulled up his pant leg, exposing that all too familiar iron brace and leather knee-strap holding a poor twisted leg. The boy answered, “Mister, that pup is going to need someone who understands him to help him in life!”

Crippled and disfigured by sin, the risen, living Christ has given us hope. He understands us our temptations, our discouragements, and even our thoughts concerning death. By His resurrection we have help in this life and hope for the life to come.

                              

Focus

                                         

                                      Rev. E. Anderson

THANKFUL KEY

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me  with  joy, that my heart may sing to yon and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever” – Psalm 30:11-12

If there is a key to a joyful life, it has to be thankfulness. A heart of ingratitude will derail our spiritual growth and journey quicker than anything else in our life.

Ingratitude fails to acknowledge the reality of God’s provision in our lives. It spits in the face of our Savior. It says that His sacrifice means nothing in light of the situation we am currently facing.

If we are ungrateful, it is because we have lost sight of Who He is and what He has done. Nothing in our lives, regardless of how tragic, will ever compare to what Jesus went through on our behalf. Our situations cannot be even half as bad-they are not even on the same plane. And yet, at every turn Jesus walked in submission to the Father. He marched willingly to His own death, asking for the forgiveness of the ungrateful masses who stood around Him mocking while He hung in agony.

A heart of ingratitude is the ultimate arrogance. It is a created being elevating itself to the level of the Creator. It is a pot on a shelf refusing to give thanks to the potter who lovingly formed it from a lump of cold, useless clay into an object of beauty and use. It is the pride that brought down Lucifer, the angel of light, who in his heart determined that he was equal to God. It is a dangerous sheet of thin ice, and nothing but cold, icy water lies beneath.

There is nothing like giving thanks to battle gloom and despair. Thankfulness will drive out self-pity. It will restore strength and perspective. It is a spiritual shot in the arm protecting us from the disease of the world. It is a spiritual vitamin giving us strength for the day. It is recommended that you take it daily and often for best results. And now is a great time to start.

                               

Leadership Factors

                                      

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

PASSION: PAUL’S ENERGY IN SERVING OTHERS 

Paul was a leader who possessed both passion – l Corinthians 9:19-21. The reason? He felt consumed with his mission. Note some truths about his leadership: 

               1.      PAUL’S PASSION EXCEEDED HIS POSITION – v. 19. His position: I am free from all men. His passion: I have become a slave to all men.

               2.      PAUL’S PASSION EXCEEDED HIS PERSONAL PREFERENCES vv. 20-22. He insists on fulfilling his mission. Compassion drove him, not compromise.!

               3.      PAUL WAS HIGH ON PEOPLE, LOW ON PROCEDURE – v 22. Paul knew what was worth dying for and what wasn’t.  He valued people over procedure.

            4.  PAUL REMAINED FIXED ON HIS METHODS v 2). Paul remained flexible because he kept his mission in sharp focus. He committed himself to God and his goal.

                            

Powerful Quotes

                                       

                                     Rev. L. Goodwin

MISSION & EVANGELISM QUOTES

A voice from eternity:

You lived next door to me for years

We shared our dreams, our joys, our tears,

A friend to me you were indeed —

A friend who helped me when in need.

My faith in you was strong and sure

We had such trust as should endure,

No spats between us ever rose

Our friends were alike, so were our foes

What sadness, then, my friend, to find

That after all, you weren’t so kind.

The day my life on earth did end

I found you weren’t a faithful friend…

For all those years we spent on earth,

You never talked of Second Birth,

You never spoke of my lost soul

And of the Christ Who’d make me whole.

I plead today from hell’s cruel fire

And tell you now my last desire,

You cannot do a thing for me,

No words today my bonds will free.

But do not err, my friend, again,

Do all you can for souls of men,

Plead with them now quite earnestly

Lest they be cast in hell with me.

“The gospel is not something we go to Church to hear; it is something we go from Church to tell

– Anon

Nothing else is any substitute for the daily unspectacular witness of the rank and file Christian”  –  D.Winter

“Two of the greatest hindrances to witnessing are a cold heart and cold feet” Anon 

“Lighthouses don’t fire guns or ring bells to call attention to their light they just shine” Peter Maynes

Dr. James Stewart, professor of New Testament at the University of Edinburgh, described what he thought is the greatest threat to the church. He said, “It is not communism, atheism, or materialism; the greatest threat is Christians trying to sneak into heaven incognito without ever sharing their faith.”

                                   

Sermons of Note

                                      

                                 Rev. E.  Anderson

EXTRAVAGANT GIVING

READING         JOHN 12:1-8

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND:

“It was a melancholy account which we had in the close of the foregoing chapter of the dishonour done to our Lord Jesus, when the scribes and Pharisees proclaimed him a traitor to their church, and put upon him all the marks of ignominy they could: but the story of this chapter balances that, by giving us an account of the honour done to the Redeemer, notwithstanding all that reproach thrown upon him. Thus the one was set over against the other. Let us see what honours were heaped on the head of the Lord Jesus, even in the depths of his humiliation!    –  MHC

As an instance of his kindness to his friends at Bethany, whom he loved, and from whom he was shortly to be taken away. This was a farewell visit; he came to take leave of them, and to leave with them words of comfort against the day of trial that was approaching. The kind entertainment that his friends there gave him: They made him a supper John 12:2, a great supper, a feast.

GOD’S OCCUPATION: Without doubt, one of the impressive and outstanding truths in relation to God is that of His wonderful and generous giving. Because His disposition is one of infinite love and kindness, he cannot help but give. This has always been, from eternity, and will never alter. It is an essential, integral and spontaneous part of His being. He cannot be equalled in relation to it. He gives from a pure motive and without measure. His gift of Christ Jesus was and is the gift really of Himself. Such a bestowment was and is indescribable, immeasurable, inexhaustible, unchangeable and exceptional. It can be declared as ‘extravagant giving.”

GOD’S OBSERVATION: In the gift as bestowed by Mary, there is indication that God in Christ took note of the extravagant love-gift of those who reveal such devotion and affection. There was no intention on Mary’s part to create a commotion or to hit the headlines on earth or in heaven, but it was taken into account of in a significant way by the One that mattered. She broke out of the wretched mould of mediocrity to express a magnificent deed. The whole incident serves as an inspiration and motivation to all Christendom in its spiritual and practical relationship to Christ. He determined that this should be observed and become deeply affected by it. Major spiritual lessons are embodied in this personal and unique act that must be learned and duly applied.

The background of the anointing of Christ reveals an opposition plotting to remove Him – Matthew 26:1-4; Mark 14:1,2. It is known that one of Christ’s disciples was involved in the betrayal and ultimate death of Christ. This deed is to be seen in contrast. This spiritual crisis was known to Christ, at this time, and He could rightly interpret what was taking place.

The Passover feast was a solemn reminder of what was to happen to Him, the Passover lamb. He was the One chosen to be the particular victim as an offering. At that time there was the spiritual tension amongst His close disciples as to who would be greatest. The anointing was to be a refreshing event and experience in more ways than one. It was to serve in so many ways.

“It is queried whether this was the same with that which is recorded, Mt 26:6, &c., in the house of Simon. Most commentators think it was; for the substance of the story and many of the circumstances agree; but that comes in after what was said two days before the Passover, whereas this was done six days before; nor is it likely that Martha should serve in any house but her own; and therefore I incline with Dr. Lightfoot to think them different: that in Matthew on the third day of the Passover week, but this the seventh day of the week before, being the Jewish Sabbath, the night before he rode in triumph into Jerusalem; that in the house of Simon; this of Lazarus. These two being the most public and solemn entertainments given him in Bethany, Mary probably graced them both with this token of her respect; and what she left of her ointment this first time, when she spent but a pound of it John 12:3, she used that second time, when she poured it all out, Mark 14:3. Let us see the account of this entertainment. 1. They made him a supper; for with them, ordinarily, supper was the best meal. This they did in token of their respect and gratitude, for a feast is made for friendship; and that they might have an opportunity of free and pleasant conversation with him, for a feast is made for fellowship”           –                    MHC

1/. IT WAS A SYMBOLIC ANOINTING

Considering the precious ointment, it was but representative and indicative of something far greater. That costly, natural substance was a spiritual revelation of the inward perfume of graces that possessed her inward being. The vase of perfume was expensive and valuable but nothing to be compared with the spiritual quality of her inner state. The outward was a token of the inward. The gift cannot be divorced from the giver.

“Genuine nard was made from dried leaves of a rare Himalayan plant. And the particular vase Mary used, if it were like the others used in that day to hold expensive contents was itself a thing of beauty. Commonly, such vases were capable of holding not less than a Roman pound, twelve ounces, of this costly perfume. Speaking of 1 year’s wage contained in that vase.

This gift to Christ was to be the disclosure of all her inward thought and emotion concerning Christ. It shadowed forth the purity and richness of her love and affection for Him. Nothing but the best coming from the best of heart conditions was good enough for her Lord. It was time to show her true spiritual feelings. She felt she had to break spontaneously the box of perfume. She broke into that gathering to perform her outstanding love and esteem for Christ. She broke through pride and prejudice to make known her great appreciation of the Master, the one that conquered her heart. It wasn’t as though she was trying to create an impression. It was not in her mind and reckoning. It was to be more than human show and display. If she did not do this she would literally explode. Jesus was special and deserved something special and she was prepared to’ ‘let her hair down in’ in the procedure.

“Doubtless she intended this as a token of her love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family; and thus she studies what she shall render. True love, as it does not spare charges, so it does not spare pains, in honouring Christ. A believing love; there was faith working by this love, faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed, who, being both priest and king, was anointed as Aaron and David were. Note, God’s Anointed should be our Anointed.  Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows? Let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections above all competent” –   MHC

2/. IT WAS A PROPHETIC ANOINTING

She did not know it at that time what the significance of this would be; she was only expressing her heart. She did not know that it was going to take on fuller and greater worth. It was to be lifted from the ordinary to the extraordinary by Christ. There was more to the act than she considered. It had wider interpretation.

Christ placed the prophetic element on it –vv7, 8. The anointing was to be indicative of His death. Usually bodies were anointed after death – John 19:39,40. It was an embalming process intended to act as a preserving and purifying factor. Jesus would not need it. He would not see corruption. She did what she could when she could and would be appreciated by her Lord.

The best thing is always to allow the Lord to interpret our deeds as well as prompt them. He has a way of placing the finest understanding and sense upon the giving and gift. He knew what the gift was all about but above all appreciated and highly valued thew giver. After all, she could have used the contents on Lazarus but it would have been a waste! It is imperative to do what one is constrained and compelled to do by the Lord. There is a need for much more of this for the Lord.

3/. IT WAS AN AROMATIC ANOINTING 

We are informed as to what actually happened when the vase was broken –v3. There came a complete transformation of the whole atmosphere. All offensive smells were immediately overcome and banished.

It was a fragrance meant specifically for the Lord –v3. It was His feet she anointed in John’s record. Matthew states it was His head –26:7. His whole body was somewhat blessed with this precious anointing. An unusual, rare, powerful and scented smell came upon Him and He would carry this aroma around with Him. The sensual in this case was but indicative of His being and person. He was worthy of this. As Chief Guest He was duly honoured by this action and He would carry and circulate this wherever He went – Psalm 45:7,8. God the Father had already done so and Mary was simply confirming heaven’s approval. How it lingered!

It was a fragrance meant generally to affect others – “it filled at the house” –v3. The household and all the guests felt the benefit and should have responded in a positive manner. It was to have an over-spill. Extravagant giving is purposed to achieve this end, to bless and do good to others. Fragrance has a ministry. It was an occasion when they should have entered in and enjoyed the honour conferred on Jesus. The fragrance of the occasion should have blessed all extravagantly and not been lost.

“The filling of the house with the pleasant odour of the ointment may intimate to us, (1.) That those who entertain Christ in their hearts and houses bring a sweet odour into them; Christ’s presence brings with it an ointment and perfume which rejoice the heart. (2.) Honours done to Christ are comforts to all his friends and followers; they are to God and good men an offering of a sweet-smelling savour”        –       MHC

4/. IT WAS A PROBLEMATIC ANOINTING 

One would have thought that everyone would have been pleased and thrilled with what had taken place. God the father was pleased for Christ. Mary must have been delighted that she had been able to overcome all timidity and fear and to break out to demonstrate her love and respect. One would think that all should have felt the same. It was not so.

Judas Iscariot did not think so – vv4-6. He had other ideas, feelings and attitudes. He was not interested in the spiritual. Already there were determining factors directing his life and conduct. Hr raises the question in seeming justifiable criticism. It may have sounded right, but it was far from being right> he stands out in vivid contrast to Mary. There was no fragrance in him and it seems his attitude over-spilled to others – Matthew 26:8. There are always those who will listen and be carried along. Their natural reasoning took over and devalued the event and sought to demean the woman. There are those who would appear to put something better in its place!  What is done as a beautiful inspiring deed is not always acceptable and approved in some quarters.

“It did come from a principle of covetousness. The truth of the matter was, this ointment being designed for his Master, he would rather have had it in money, to be put in the common stock with which he was entrusted, and then he knew what to do with it.  Observe, being trusted with the bag, he was a thief, that is, he had a thievish disposition. The reigning love of money is heart-theft as much as anger and revenge are heart-murder. Or perhaps he had been really guilty of embezzling his Master’s stores, and converting to his own use what was given to the public stock. And some conjecture that he was now contriving to fill his pockets, and then run away and leave his Master, having heard him speak so much of troubles approaching, to which he could by no means  He who had betrayed his trust, soon after betrayed his Master”       –     MHC 

5/. IT WAS AN HISTORIC ANOINTING 

Whatever construction and interpretation others may have put on, Jesus Christ has His perfect judgment and answer. He has something to say that will make history. This cannot be allowed to be by-passed without divine comment. 

Her action is proved to be right. It was in accord with God’s will. She had performed correctly. There had not been any mistake whatsoever. Her extravagance was not to be despised or devalued. This would go down as an historic event not only for Christ and her but for the whole of the Christian Church – Matthew 26:13. It was to serve as an example to the whole Christian community. This is what Christ desires to see: people rising beyond the norm and mediocre to express their affection. She would not be forgotten. The fragrance of her deed would like on! 

“She has reserved this for the day of my embalming; so Dr. Hammond. “You do not grudge the ointment used for the embalming of your dead friends, nor say that it should be sold, and given to the poor. Now this anointing either was so intended, or at least may be so interpreted; for the day of my burying is now at hand, and she has anointed a body that is already as good as dead”       –        MHC 

Their attitude proved to be wrong. Jesus said enough to show how wrong was their opinion. Later events proved how wrong Judas had been. History has a way of putting things into the true perspective. Extravagant giving is never at the mercy of the critics in the final analysis.

CONCLUSION

What the Christian Church needs is more Mary’s. Those who will break out of the set procedures and dare to express uniquely, extravagantly, expensively and exclusively on Christ. To rise above the usual and do the unusual.

It may invite criticism. But what of it?  It will please the Master.  Dare to be different and dare to do something different. If a retiring nature like Mary can rise to such an act, why not you?

                                 

Prayer Dynamics

                                   

                                     Rev. Rick Warren

HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

 

“God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9a (MSG) 

The way you use the middle of your life has more influence on your end than the beginning.

We’ve discussed cultural distractions, voices of doubt, and tempting shortcuts. The fourth pitfall you will face during your Decade of Destiny is discouraging delays.

The truth is, when God gives you a dream, there will be delays, difficulties, detours and dead ends along the way. These things are a natural part of life. But you can be ready for them.

The antidote to discouraging delays is to refuse to give up on the dream God gives you. As I said, a lot of people start out well, but they give up too quickly.  They don’t hope.

H-O-P-E: Holding On, Praying Expectantly.

Now if anybody had a right to be discouraged, it was Noah.  Do you know how long it took Noah to build the arc?  120 years.  Could you go 120 years on a project without one word of encouragement from anybody else in society?  In fact, could you go 120 years with everybody ruthlessly ridiculing you and saying, “That guy is nuts. He thinks he hears from God.”

Noah trusted God. And when he heard God’s warning about the future, Noah believed him even though there was no sign of a flood. I bet there were many days that Noah didn’t feel like going to work, but for 43,800 days, he went to the same place and he worked. He never gave up.

Now listen, the way you use the middle of your life has more influence on your end than the beginning.  A lot of people think, ‘Oh, I have to begin right or I won’t end right.’ No. It’s what you do in the middle of your life — when you don’t give up even though you feel like it — that determines the end.

You could have messed up a whole bunch in the beginning and you might be thinking, “I’m going to give up on a dream. I’m going to settle for second best.” But if you hang on and refuse to give up, the rest of your life can be the best of your life. That’s what Decade of Destiny is all about. The decisions that you make in the middle of your life will determine your end.

Don’t give up on the dream. Don’t give up on the marriage. Don’t give up on your health. Don’t, don’t, don’t give up.  God is in control and the final chapter of your life, you haven’t read yet. God’s already written it, but you haven’t read it yet.

The Bible says, “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him.” God is looking for people that he can bless.  I want you to be one of those people in the next ten years.

Pray — Jesus, I know that in the days ahead there will be times of discouragement. But I want to do exactly what you tell me to do and I want to refuse to give up when I feel like giving up. I want to hold onto the dream that you give me.  I want to be one of the people that you can use and bless in the next ten years.

                              

Just a Thought

                                           

                                          Rev. A. Linford

BLESS YOU

“We bless you in the name of the Lord” –  Psalm 129:8

The word noblesse means to express good wishes to a person, or as we say, “All the best”. It is an expression of goodwill. But when it is done in the Name of the Lord it takes on a new dimension. It becomes more than pious pattter, it invokes the favour of God, “the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it –  Proverbs 10:22. Faith tums a wish into a solid reality. Such a blessing is a word charged with power.

And this realm of faith extends to even greater things. By faith Isaac blessed ….. Joseph blessed ……|, and their good wishes became prophetic promises.

The pronouncement of blessing over Israel by the High Priest became their morning cordial and their good-night sedative. What precious words! “The Lord bless thee and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”. And “in the name the Lord” we too can bless others.

Psalm 129 recites the vicissitudes of life wherein dangers and faculties oppose. But God is greater circumstances and with His blessings we triumph.

So when you say, “God bless you” do it in faith, and it will surprise you and the one you bless how God responds.

                                

Dave’s Snippets

                                        

                                   Dr. David Allen

TO COUNSEL OR NOT TO COUNSEL?

An  acquaintance of mine, Professor Andrew Walker of King’s College (London), who has  written a number of books on  revival and the  New Pentecostalism, once  shared with me  his  thoughts on Counselling: “Counselling is  the easy alternative to applying the Word of God.” This may sounds harsh, but it has some truth in it.  In my own experience, as a pastor and Dean of the College, the first difficulty is that very of ten those who come for counsel initially   conceal the real and underlying problem.

In regard to this, the Holy Spirit can help the Christian counsellor by the gift of either the discerning of spirits or by a word of knowledge uncover the problem. I have known that a few times in my ministry. Happily the application of the corrective word can do the trick. But we   always need remember that “the heart is deceitfully wicked”, as the prophet said. Another problem is that some who come for help  only come  in order to confirm from the counsellor  what they have already intend to do or to decide and will go from person to person until they get the “right” answer!

My professorial friend has my sympathy in general, though there will be occasion and times when even the most mature and stable believer will need counselling and support in dire situations like serious sickness, marriage stresses, bereavement and the like. But, generally speaking, the very best Counsellor is the Holy Spirit Himself who is resident in the Pentecostal   believer and our personal trouble-shooter. The Greek word parakletos may be rendered a number of helpful ways: advocate, helper, comforter, and not least, Counsellor.  Happily, He does not ask you to make a special appointment, charge no fees and never ever makes a mistake. He says to us, in times of trouble, “You can trust Me, I am the ever – present God within you.”

                               

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