Focus

                                       

                                  Rev. E. Anderson

THE STING OF DEATH

The master preacher Donald Grey Barnhouse was widowed at a young age. The death of his wife left him with a six-year-old daughter in the home. He had real difficulty working through his own grief, but the hardest part was to comfort and explain the death to his daughter. He later recalled that all of his education and theological training left him at a loss.

One day he and the little girl were standing on a busy corner at a downtown intersection waiting for a light to change. Suddenly a very large truck sped by the corner, briefly blocking out the sun and frightening the little girl.

To comfort her, Dr. Barnhouse picked her up, and in a moment , the wisdom of God broke through and he was able to explain to his daughter: ”When you saw the truck pass it scared you, but let me ask you, had you rather be struck by the truck or the shadow of the truck?”She replied, “O f the course, the shadow”.

He went on to explain that when ”your mother died, she was only hit by shadow of death because Jesus was hit by the truck (death)”. The Psalmist reminds us that God is with us even though we walk through the valley of shadow of death.

                               

Advertisements

A Time to Laugh

                                        

                                  Rev. E. Anderson

A CRACKED POT

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’

‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.’

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we
each have that make our lives together so very interesting and
rewarding.

You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

                              

                               

Wisdom’s Ways

                                            

                                       Rev. A. Linford

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.

CORRECTION: BEGINNING AND END

”Chasten thy son while there is hope” – Proverbs 19:18, 19

A sapling, whether on city streets or in private glades, is often protected with a wire cage. This has a two-fold purpose; first to prevent loss or damage from predators – animal of human, boys or beasts; secondly to enable the plant to grow straight. Even so, correction for a child is a protection against evil influences of a wicked environment or a wayward disposition. It also enables the youngster to develop into an upright, honest and integrated adult.

Instructable adolescent:  The moral training of a child must begin early, but must needs continue through those difficult years we call ‘teenage – “while there is hope”. That borderline between childhood and manhood is fraught with turbulent emotions. Like the ship that grounded ”where two seas met” – Acts 27:41, the emotional struggle between the dependence of infancy and the independence of adulthood produces clashes that tend to produce a turmoil of feelings that shatter domestic peace. The adolescent, still needing the re-assurance of parental care, yet aspiring to adult privilege and freedom, is not always easy to understand, or even tolerate. But it is here that tender care and loving-firmness are not only needed, but (whether acknowledged or not) decidedly welcome. The correction of a fond mother and a firm father are never more desirable than at this critical juncture of development.

Incorrigible adult: The result of over-reaction, whether by pampering or penalising, can produce “a man of great wrath”. Excessive anger may relieve the offended feelings of a father, but may produce a lethal reaction in a recalcitrant son: ”You can drive the devil in as well as drive him out”, said a rebellious adolescent. “Provoke not your children to wrath”, said Paul – Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21, in other words, do not exasperate them by unreasonable demands. Nevertheless, to nurture them often includes admonition as well as encouragement.

PRAYER:

Help me to respect those who seek to do me good, O Lord.

                            

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. 

HANDLING FAMILY PROBLEMS

“. . . in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” – Genesis12:3 NKIV

In order to bless all the families of the earth, Abraham had to start with his own family. Before a man could qualify for leadership in the New Testament church, they examined his home life – 1 Timothy 3:5. Their thinking was, ‘If he doesn’t succeed there, don’t enlarge his territory’. But if you are going to enjoy God’s blessing as a family you must learn to cope with difficulties. So:

1/. TRY TO REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM. Don’t take your frustrations out on your loved ones. Too often, home is where we go when we’re tired of being ‘nice’.

2/.  BEFORE YOU SPEAK GET THE FACTS. Nothing’s more damaging than jumping to conclusions. ‘Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything – Proverbs 13:3 NLT.

3/. HANDLE IT WITH WISDOM. LIST ALL YOUR OPTIONS AND YOU’LL BE MORE OBJECTIVE. That’s how you’d handle a problem at work; why not do the same with your family?

4/. FIND SOMETHING GOOD IN THE SITUATION. Scott Peck writes, ‘It’s only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It’s through the pain of confronting them that we learn’.  No matter how bad things seem, every situation holds something positive-look for it.

5/. MAKE SURE THEY KNOW YOU LOVE THEM. It’s okay to express how you feel so long as you do it graciously. But make sure your family knows you love them. When people feel loved they can weather almost any crisis. Think: when do you God’s love most? When you deserve it least! Try to follow suit.

                             

Meet the Christian Ministers

                                

                      John and Jenny Willoughby.

I was not privileged to grow up in a Christian environment, unlike my wife, Jenny, who was born into a very devout Christian family. In my case it needed years of witness and prayer, before I was born again in 1977, alone in a farmhouse in South Africa, where I was working. This was to me a Damascus Road experience, which changed my life completely. Shortly after my conversion, I felt the Lord guiding me to return to England to witness my new faith to my family.

It was soon after my conversion that I felt a call to ministry, but that Jesus needed to do a deep work in me first. I am very thankful for the ministry I received both of deliverance and healing at Bible College and later with YWAM.

During these three years I was mainly involved in an evangelistic team, travelling to Africa and South East Asia. In 1988, I felt called into the pastoral ministry at Liskeard in Cornwall. After another visit to South East Asia and nearly six years of pastoral ministry, I became a missionary to the Philippines. My subsequent ministry covered the main areas of evangelism, teaching and preaching. It was exciting and fruitful, but also a lonely time as I was still a bachelor. After eight years I felt the Lord guiding me to return to the pastoral ministry in England, where I pastored two more churches in Cornwall, firstly at Lostwithiel then at Bodmin.

It was in 2003 that Jenny and I married after many years of friendship. This was fully in the guidance and timing of the Lord and the following years since then have proved His hand of blessing, being the best years for both of us.

                                   

Messages of Note

                                     

                               Rev. Ian Williams

FEEDING AND CARING FOR THE FLOCK

In John 21 we read a conversation between Peter and Jesus during an impromptu fish BBQ.  During the beach barbie in verse 15 Jesus asks Peter a question – “Do you love me?” 
 
Peter responds with the appropriate answer – “Yes Lord, you know that I love you!”
 
Jesus then gives Peter instruction to feed and care for the lambs and the sheep.
 
The challenges set before us today remain the same – feed and care for the lambs and the sheep. Sometimes we place too much emphasis on the spiritual side of this and forget the practical; we need to pray for people and talk about the Bible but we can underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to point people to Jesus and change their lives forever.

If we want to point people to Jesus, we need to; 

  • Care more than others think is wise
  • Risk more than others think is safe
  • Dream more than others think is practical
  • Expect more than others think is possible

                           

Messages by Rick Warren

                               

                                Rev. Rick Warren

YOUR DESTINY IS TO BECOME LIKE JESUS

“Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.” Ephesians 4:23-24 (TEV)

As you look toward your Decade of Destiny, it’s important to remember that, from the beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny. God announced this intention at Creation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.'” – Genesis 1:26 NCV.

God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ

In all of creation, only human beings, are made “in God’s image.” This is a great privilege and gives us dignity. We don’t know all this phrase covers, but we do know some of the aspects it includes: Like God, we are spiritual beings—our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual—we can think, reason, and solve problems; like God, we are relational—we can give and receive real love; and we have a moral consciousness—we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God.

The Bible says that all people, not just believers, possess part of the image of God; that is why murder and abortion are wrong – Genesis 6:9; Psalm 139:13-16; James 3:9.

But the image is incomplete and has been damaged and distorted by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost.  What does the full “image and likeness” of God look like? It looks like Jesus Christ! The Bible says Jesus is “the exact likeness of God,” “the visible image of the invisible God,” and “the exact representation of his being – 2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT; Colossians 1:15 NLT; Hebrews 1:3 NIV.

People often use the phrase like father, like son” to refer to family resemblance. When people see my likeness in my kids, it pleases me. God wants his children to bear his image and likeness, too. The Bible says, “You were … created to be like God, truly righteous and holy”Ephesians 4:24 GW.

Let me be absolutely clear: You will never become God, or even a god. That prideful lie is Satan’s oldest temptation. Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, “you shall be as gods.” – Genesis 3:5 KJV.

Many religions and New Age philosophies still promote this old lie that we are divine or can become gods. This desire to be a god shows up every time we try to control our circumstances, our future, and people around us.

But as creatures, we will never be the Creator. God doesn’t want you to become a god; he wants you to become godly—taking on his values, attitudes, and character. We are meant to “take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” – Ephesians 4:22 Msg.

God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it.

                                 

Focus

                                        

                                     Rev. E. Anderson

DON’T BE TOO IMPRESSED – PART ONE

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich . . . . for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendour will not descend with him. Psalm 49:16-17

Once when I (Tom) was on a trip with my parents and siblings, we stopped for supper at the home of some family friends. As we pulled up to their very large house (it was a mansion, really), my father said to my mother, ”That’s quite a shack”.

They didn’t realise that my brother, who was about five years old, was eaves- dropping. And much to my parents’ chagrin, the just thing out of his mouth when he met the man of the house as the door was, ”That’s quite a shack!”

We laugh, but this little story aptly illustrates how natural it is for us to give great deference, either in our words or our actions, to people who are wealthy.

Think about what you say when you meet a rich person: ”Wow, your house is amazing!”.  “You must be really good at what you do”.  “You clearly know how to manage our money”.  “Man, you’ve really accomplished a lot here”.  We  praise them – simply because they have a lot of money.

Measuring a person’s value based upon his or her bank account is not an invention of modern society; people have been doing it for thousands of years. Even Job, the first book of the Bible to be written, begins with a description of the main character’s wealth. But it does seem that society’s emphasis on money is stronger now than it’s ever been. The more money you have, the more valuable you are to society. The larger your stock portfolio, the more important you are. When was the last of the time you saw a listing in Forbes magazine of the five hundred poorest Americans? It would never happen; the rich are always the ones who are elevated in our culture.

Even those of us who know where our worth really comes from tend to get awed by wealth because we’ve grown up with such a mind-set. But in Psalm 49:16-17, David brings us back to reality. He doesn’t say wealth is bad or evil; he just tells us not to be overawed when someone gets rich because when he dies, he’ll end up just like the rest of us-with nothing.

Keep that in mind next time you visit the home of a wealthy friend who seems to have everything!

                                 

Christian Testimony

                                              

                                        John Yuntan

John Yuntan was a desperate man. He decided to throw himself to his death from Westminster bridge. But, as James Hastings reports, he made a life-changing decision moments after making his jump.

GOD SAVED MY LIFE AS I PRAYED TO HIM DURING SUICIDE ATTEMPT

 

John Yuntan made a leap of faith when he jumped off a bridge. Separated from his family and with nothing to look forward to, the desperate dad decided to end his life on London’s Westminster Bridge. But as he fell towards the icy waters of the River Thames, he had a change of heart and screamed: ’God, don’t let me die’. 

John narrowly missed smashing his head open on bridge supports and was picked up immediately by a rescue launch. Today he says God not only saved his life that day – but gave him a completely a new one.

‘On the day l jumped from Westminster Bridge, I was thinking, wait until dark so that people don’t have to see me smash my brains out. As I stood there, I got scared, and I worried about how to jump,’ he says. ‘Do I go head first, or legs first? I’d never tried to kill myself before. I know this will sound bizarre but I’ve always prided myself on being somebody who finishes what he starts. So, Big Ben struck four, I just died decided, do it, But as soon as I I jumped I was praying, ”God, don’t let me die.”’

John had a lengthy criminal background involving drugs, violence and gun-related crime, Born in Romania, he fled to Australia where he married a local woman, Karen, and the couple have three children.

He got involved with gangs thinking, and enjoyed a reputation as a tough guy. John and Karen, now 46, have been separated for seven years since his deportation for dealing heroin. He’s been apart from daughter Danica, now 14, and twin boys Joshua and loner, now 22 since 2003 as well.

Living alone in London, John heard about an Elim church called River Church in Canning Town that held a regular breakfast. With nothing to lose, he went along and told members of his jump – and prayer.

Over the next few weeks, John gave his life to Jesus and discovered a whole new person – himself. ‘I am a changed man’ he says. I feel different, I am so glad to be alive’.

He is still unable to return to Australia but is hoping and praying with members of River Church, for a breakthrough.

John adds, ‘With my children getting older, maybe they’ll visit me. It’s heart-breaking when your body aches to be with people you love.

‘But now I know that there is another lasting love in my life – Christ’s love for me and God’s forgiveness John is determined to over- turn the deportation order, His son Joshua wrote movingly to the Australian government, saying his father was ‘more Australian than most’’ and that it was the ‘saddest day’ of his life when he was forced to leave.

Ian Rathbone, one of the leaders at River Church, added that John has seen a complete turnaround since he became a Christian. He added, ‘John has encountered the living whilst in London,

‘He came to a production run by River Church of Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames and realised there was an eternity. Instead of throwing his life away, he made a leap of faith and gave his life to Jesus that night in the counselling room.

‘God, indeed, did not let him die, but gave him eternal life, John asked us if he could be baptised straight away and so the next week he had water poured over him in the morning service and was duly baptised.

We gave him a Bible with a key verse, Psalm 118: 8 – ”It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man’. The prodigal son has come home. 

He tried to throw his life away but God found him and life away brought him back, and now John knows who he is. He belongs to God, not a gang or under criminal influence’.

Ian added that he hoped many more like John would find faith in Christ through the church’s breakfast outreaches and other evangelism events.

‘If Jesus can die in our place as a sacrifice of love, how much more should we be showing his love to others. And I think showing that love, rather than talking about it, is opening up the way for some of those who attend the Big Breakfast to see God’s love and to respond to him in their own way’.

                               

Leadership Factors

                                   

                           Rev. E. Anderson

UNAMBITIOUS LEADERSHIP

Rev. Chuck Swindolls

Let’s take a look at the important balance between natural and spiritual leadership. A leader, obviously, must have some God-given natural qualities that cause others to respond to his or her influence. At the same time, the Christian leader must possess a marked degree of Spirit-directed, humble devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ . . . lest he fall into the category of a self-appointed, ambitious creature who simply loves the spotlight. It is upon this point I want to camp for a few minutes. 

Dr. A. W. Tozer wrote: A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation. Such were Moses and David and the Old Testament prophets. I think there was hardly a great leader from Paul to the present day but was drafted by the Holy Spirit for the task, and commissioned by the Lord of the Church to fill a position he had little heart for. I believe it might be accepted as a fairly reliable rule of thumb that the man who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a leader.

Spiritual leaders, you see, are not made by majority vote or ecclesiastical decisions, by conferences or synods. Only God can make them!

For not from east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation;

But God is the Judge; He puts down one, and exalts another – Psalm 75:6-7. 

This means, then, that God makes it His responsibility to prepare, nurture, train, and promote certain people to places of leadership. That’s His business, not ours. Listen to Jeremiah 45:5:

But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them. . . .

May those words never be forgotten. We live in a do-it-yourself era. We are programmed to think in terms of promotion, advertisement, public image, and appeal. Such things commercialize the ministry and smack of side-show tactics . . . or, to use Paul’s words’.

“ . . walking in craftiness . . . adulterating the Word of God . . . preaching ourselves. . . .”

Do I address one who is gifted, capable, qualified to lead, but God has not yet promoted you? Let me warn you of the danger of selfish ambition. Quietly and in subtle ways you can manipulate others to notice you, to be impressed with you. The cheap narcotic of ambition can deaden the pain of your inner conscience . . . but you can ride the crest of your self-made fame just so long. In the end, alas, it stings like a serpent.

Solomon’s words fit well: For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin – Proverbs 5:21-22.

Let me end on a positive note. Go knows what He’s about. If He has you sidelined, out of the action for a while, He knows what He’s doing. You just say faithful . . . stay flexible . . . stay available . . . stay humble, like David with his sheep (even after he had been anointed king!). Learn your lessons well in the schoolroom of obscurity. God is preparing you as His chosen arrow. As yet your shaft is hidden in His quiver, in the shadows . . . but at the precise moment at which it will tell with the greatest effect, He will reach for you and launch you to that place of His appointment.

                                 

« Older entries