Christian Testimony

                              

                                Lesley Vainikolo

VOLCANO ALERT

Sheila Johnson DISCOVERS THAT DESPITE BEING A FEARSOME OPPONENT ON THE RUGBY PITCH, England international Lesley Vainikolo’s Christian faith is ventral to his career

 “IM JUST AN an ordinary guy and rugby is my job. That’s the way it should be,” says Gloucester and England player Lesley Vainikolo.

Lesley may be over six feet and weigh nearly 18 stone but for all that, the Tongan-born colossus is a meek and easy-going character.

Born into a Christian family in Tonga, moving to New Zealand when he was just five, Wesley freely admits to being  “a bad boy” when he was young. His mother caught him stealing from her purse as a teenager and told him off and Wesley says: “That’s when I realised God was there and I broke down in tears and said sorry to my Mum. We said a prayer together and since then I’ve never doubted”.

Lesley also found from quite an early age that he was good at sport, first athletics, qualifying for the 1998 World Junior athletics Championships and then rugby. He says: “God chose me and gave that one-in-a-million talent”.

He started playing professional rugby league for the Canberra Raiders in Australia in 1998, where he was coached by his mentor and idol Mal Meninga. In his first season for the club he was voted the Canberra Raiders rookie of the year. It was also in Australia that Vainikolo first acquired the nickname of ‘The volcano’, partly because he was fast and partly because the Australian commentators found his surname difficult to pronounce.

Vainikolo moved to England in 2002 to join the Bradford Bulls, and the following year was voted best rugby league player in the world. He received his first offer from Gloucester Rugby Club in 2005 which he declined, but accepted a second offer in 2007, making the switch from playing rugby league to rugby union. He was then selected for the England squad, taking part in the Six Nations.

Lesley’s faith is vital to him in the way he plays his game. “My faith is very important to me both in my rugby and in my life. God gave me the talent, but I have to work hard as a winger because the position is quite demanding. I take my bible everywhere and read a passage from .. . it before every game then l bless the jersey, myself the team and the other team as well”.

He isn’t fazed by criticism either. “It just motivates me to do better”, he says  “I never think above what I am, I was brought up that way”.

There’s a lot of pressure on him to maintain the bad language and drinking culture that often surrounds rugby. Lesley says: “Sometimes I go out with the team and have a few beers and go home and they’ll just carry on doing what they want to do”. 

But like the rest of us, he doesn’t always get it right,  “ I get frustrated in the game sometimes and then the bad language just comes out, but I always ask God to forgive me. I’ve taken a few bad roads in my life, but the only way to learn from your mistakes is to follow the man above”.

Lesley had a difficult first year in Gloucester, suffering two family tragedies within four weeks of each other – the death of his father after a long battle with asthma and his brother from a sudden fatal heart attack – but has drawn strength from his faith and the birth of his first son, Kava, in March 2008. He is now finding his feet in the Gloucester team and is signed up with them until 2010.

His family is enormously important to him and his wife and son live locally.

“My wife loves it over here,” says Lesley, “but we will go back to New Zealand when I’ve finished here as I’ve got all my family there, and all my wife’s family too. But I’ve got one year at Gloucester now under my belt and I know I’ve got more to giver”.

                             

Christian Prime Timers supplied by Rev. E. Anderson

                                 

                                  Rev. E. Anderson

A PRIME TIMER WHO DIVINELY SERVED

 

2 Timothy 1: 16-18

 

Introduction

 

SERVICE: Christian life embraces the great fact and demand of service to God and to others. The example has been permanently set by Christ for all others to emulate. He affirmed His mind and commitment in this connection and so places it as a standard for all who embrace Him and His lifestyle: “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and give His life as a ransom for many” – Mark 10: 45. It was service of the highest and greatest kind and Onesiphorus appears to capture His spirit and attitude.

 

‘It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service’ – Einstein

 

NEED: This Christian believer evidently saw that there was a need to fill a gap in serving the apostle Paul who found himself in need in prison at Rome. He who had voluntarily ministered to countless others was now placed in circumstances that he required the loving care and devotion of other people. In no way was he to be neglected by the Lord because there was someone lined up to occupy the role of a choice servant of Christ and perform greatly at a difficult hour.

 

‘The highest of distinctions is the service of others’ – King George VI

 

QUALITY: Although just a few brief verses are recorded of Onesiphorus, it is apparent that he divinely served and that what he did was of a quality nature. Paul is profoundly impressed by him and what he did that he could do no other than place in sacred writing and testimony his appreciation and so use Onesiphorus as a further inspiring pattern for all to copy.

 

TUNED: One can gather from the words used that he was a person who was divinely tuned to act as he did to God’s special messenger.

 

1/. HE SERVED PERSONALLY

 

     A thing of note is that he did this willingly and by freedom of mind and heart. It was something that he was desirous of doing for the Lord and for God’s man. In no way was he going to allow someone else to be a substitute for him. He was ready and happy to consecrate himself to this role and not to pass the job on to another. He knew that he had been primed and timed as an individual to function in this capacity at this time and he was not going to allow the opportunity to slip by.

 

‘No one is useless in this world that lightens the burden of it for any one else’ – Dickens

 

‘There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up’ – Holmer

 

 

2/. HE SERVED PASSIONATELY

 

     He was to conduct this mission and ministry with love and serve in a manner that his heart was fully in. It was not to be carried out with a sense of burden or duress but pleasure. One translation puts it: “he was like a breath of fresh air” as he made his visits to this trustworthy servant of Christ. His very presence as he entered the cell charged the atmosphere with a beautiful freshness and fragrance that Paul could not miss. As soon as he saw him, the man proved to be a spiritual tonic because coming from him was the love of Christ. It was service with a smile and a smile that was created from a passionate heart. The Lord seeks to prime and time all of His servants with holy love and passion.

 

3/. HE SERVED PROVIDENTIALLY

 

     Onesiphorus deeply knew that this was no accident that he was round and about at this time and that the Lord had given him the privilege of a good task of seeking and looking after His ordained servant. Just as much as Paul had been elected to do his important task, so likewise, it was now incumbent upon him to get on with this seemingly menial role of servanthood to this imprisoned apostle. He was cut out for the mission and ministry by heaven although possibly unnoticed by many. God’s servant required some good cheer in those dark and damp conditions and Onesiphorus was the ideal person to act as the representative of the Lord.

 

4/ HE SERVED PRACTICALLY

 

     He did not go empty-handed but made sure that natural and material things were taken to meet the physical requirements. Whilst his presence was essential as a cheering factor, Paul was glad that he also brought provisions to meet his bodily needs. Apostles need food to eat, clothes to wear, materials to write with etc., and this man was not only aware of such, he did something about it at personal cost. In seeing God’s servant on his many visits he was observant of his requirements and went out of his way to foot the bill and pay the cost for the upkeep of the Lord’s chosen one. He was duly primed to give of his substance.

 

Illustration: The Good Samaritan not only found and ministered to the man who had been waylaid and took him to the inn. He was prepared to pay the innkeeper added costs that may be in the man’s full recovery.

 

‘When a man turns to God desiring to serve Him, God directs his attention to the world and its need’ – Brunner

 

5/. HE SERVED PERSISTENTLY

 

      It is remarked: “he oft refreshed me,” – thus proving and showing that it was not a one off factor. Whilst the servant of God was placed in that prison he could be relied upon to serve. There was to be no failure in his commitment or service. Paul looked on this man and his ministry as a gift from heaven and welcomed the moments and hours of his appearance, attitude and actions. One could call him, ‘Brother Reliable’ because of his consistency. He was so primed by the Lord that there was never any possibility of breakdown in his service.

 

‘There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things’ – Moody

 

CONCLUSION

 

The conclusion could not be better. Paul believes that what this man has done will be honoured by the Lord. Service conducted on earth for Him under His inspiration and direction will be rewarded. A record is kept in heaven and the Lord is primed and timed to respond in the future to such quality service. Paul says: “The Lord grant that he might find mercy of the Lord in that day” – v18.  At the Bema seat all divine service will be compensated by the Lord – 1 Corinthians 3; Matthew 10: 42.

 

                                       

Christian Prime Timers supplied by Rev. E. Anderson

                                     

                                Rev. & Mrs. E. Anderson

A PRIME TIMER WITH GOOD VIRTUES

 

Philippians 2: 25 -30

 

Paul had some invaluable friends and workers who ably assisted him in fulfilling his call and ministry. Each one seems to have been primed and timed by God to draw alongside  him and to aid him in his immense task for Christ and the Christian Church. Amongst them is a man by the name of Epaphroditus and he is mentioned briefly in his letter to the Philippians.

 

John Maxwell writes: “Several leaders in the Bible qualify as ‘nobodies.’ They never became famous, like Moses or David or Paul, but remained obscure, even though they played a vital role in the kingdom. Epaphroditus was such a man. No books were ever written about him, to him, or by him. We know no statues or memorials erected to him. He was a ‘nobody’ who became a ‘somebody’ to Paul. He ran all the way from Philippi to join Paul in prison and minister to him.”

 

He is described in glowing terms and Paul reveals that he was a person who was primed and timed in a number of ways.

 

1/. HE WAS AN AFFECTIONATE BROTHER

 

      The initial description is that of being a ‘brother’ – 2 25. The most fundamental and precious thing above everything else was that he was a true member of the household of God. There may be other things of note to be recorded but this was primary and considered first. Paul felt bonded to him with the warm ties of Christian brotherhood. There was a real feeling of oneness with him, a mutual love and high relationship and respect. This excelled all official or ministerial status and all that he did came from this position. It is noteworthy that it is a genuine factor with Christ and us – ‘He is not ashamed to call us brethren’ – Hebrews 2: 11. He had been duly primed and timed to act in the role of a loving brother.

 

“I sought my soul-but my soul I could not see; I sought my God-but my God eluded me; I sought my brother-and found all three” Anonymous

 

The opportunity to practice brotherhood presents itself every time you meet a human being. -Wyman

 

2/.  HE WAS A RELENTLESS WORKER

 

      He is said to be ‘a companion in labour’ – 2: 25. There was a readiness to be in the team and to put his share into the work that was required. Not a shirker but a worker and a tireless one at that. Epaphroditus was always on the scene where there was a job to be done or a task to be performed. From what is mentioned it is evident that he regarded it as a privilege to be industrious for the Lord and others and was primed and timed by the Lord and the Christian fellowship in his diaconate calling.

 

“It is not impossible that he may have laboured with Paul in the gospel at Philippi; but more probably the sense is, that he regarded him as engaged in the same great work that he was” – Matthew Henry

 

There are two changeless sources of solid happiness: first, the belief in God, and second, the habit of hard work toward useful ends. -Willard

 

3/. HE WAS A SPIRITUAL SOLDIER

 

For Paul, being a Christian and especially a leader within the Church meant being and living like a soldier. There was someone and something to fight for in the establishing of the Christian testimony. There were wicked forces to confront and overcome, there were hard and difficult situations to be faced and rightly answered which required not only grace but courage etc. Paul encouraged Timothy to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” – 2 Timothy 2: It is a major factor with the apostle Paul that the Christian is involved with major warfare. This man was not lacking in courage and commitment and could be relied upon to take risks within his calling and must have sensed he was primed and timed for this spiritual vocation.

 

A faithful and a constant associate with him in the Christian warfare, 2Corinthians 10:4; 1Timothy 1:18; Philemon 1:2, under Christ their Captain, against all the assaults of the devil, and the carnal world, which are continually warring to destroy real Christianity – Matthew Poole

 

4/. HE WAS A COMMITTED SERVANT

 

He was utterly geared up to service and regarded being a servant of the Lord as a sacred vocation and of the Christian community, too. There is personal witness to the ones he served and how he did it in an indefatigable manner. There was the serving of the Philippian fellowship and the apostle in a beautiful and bountiful manner.  Of him, it is stated: “he that ministered unto my wants” and “not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me” – vv25, 26. He did more than what was required to make sure this choice servant of God was catered for. He had been saved to serve and prepared for every good service.

 

He did not only deliver the present for his support according to his trust and commission, wherein he faithfully served the church, but also, as their public minister, greatly help Paul the prisoner in what he stood most in need of – Matthew Poole

 

It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service. -Einstein

 

The highest of distinctions is the service of others. –King George VI

 

If you want to be not only successful, but personally, happily and permanently successful, then do your job in a way that puts lights in people’s faces.  Do that job in such a way that, even when you are out of sight, folks will always know which way you went by the lamps left behind.

-Mc Farland

 

CONCLUSION

 

This man’s life and ministry was a great inspiration and example to Paul and the local fellowship at Philippi. He is found in the great, historical record book, the Bible, and constantly serves as a pattern for all who would engage in true relationship and service for the Lord.

 

The apostle commended him to the church fellowship of that day and his example is till to be commended and copied.

                                          

Christian Prime Timers compiled by Rev. E. Anderson

                                  

                             Rev. & Mrs. E. Anderson

THE PRIME TIMERS DUO

 

Reading    Acts 18: 1-3; 18: 24-28; Romans 16: 3, 4; 1 Corinthians 16:19

 

Introduction

 

DYNAMIC DUO: In the history of the early Church, a couple, husband and wife, Aquila and Priscilla, are mentioned in connection with its growth and development. Reading what is recorded of them, it appears they came on to the scene at the right time and were duly primed to fulfil a role within the increase of the Christian witness. In a quiet but dynamic manner this duo served the Lord, His servants and churches in a wholesome fashion and serve as an example on how other Christian couples can effectually do a worthy job for the Lord in spiritual accord.

 

1/  A GOOD MARITAL STATE

 

What is mentioned of them would indicate that this couple knew the Lord and lived and worked in a spirit of oneness and harmony. When Paul first came across them in Corinth he must have been impressed by the quality of their relationship with each other and had no problem in relating to them. They experienced and enjoyed a married bliss and happiness that provided a good foundation and framework for their lives and witness of and for the Lord. In coming into their home Paul knew he could stay and conduct a worthwhile ministry for the Lord because the atmosphere within it was of a beautiful nature and order because of its occupants. It was good to meet a husband and wife who had got their act together with one another. Together they had managed to create and cultivate a good home in which the Lord was to be known.

 

“Home should be a place of mutual responsibility and respect, of encouragement and cooperation and counsel, of integrity, of willingness to work, of discipline when necessary, with the tempering quality of love added to it, with a sense of belonging, and with someone to talk to”  – Evans

 

This is where Christianity must start and be seen at its best in the context of a marriage union. This couple before they became know on a broader front manifested in their accord with one another with God a good bonding. His blessing rested on their union and home.

 

2/.  A COMMITMENT TO PARTNERSHIP WITH OTHERS

 

In the unveiling of their lives and service it becomes apparent they had a vital interest and commitment to the Lord and His kingdom and felt graciously obligated to help those who were involved in Christian leadership.

 

·          The apostle Paul was the first one that they entered into a healthy partnership – Acts 18: 3. Providentially and remarkably Paul found this couple were of the same craft and so from a natural standpoint they had something in common. In partnership they were able to ply their trade and provide means for financial and physical support at a needful time. They were in business together with and for God and used the natural gift to serve a higher purpose.

 

·          Then there was an Apollos who required their comradeship – Acts 18: 24-26. This couple became attached and associated with him and opened up their home to him. In this action they endeavoured to create a close accord with him and must have sensed that the Lord had put him across their pathway. There was an utter selflessness in the way that they welcomed others into a close relationship with themselves.

 

·          The young man Timothy must also have known and experience a comradeship with them as he is instructed to greet them – 2 Timothy 4: 19. Being Paul’s travelling companion he must have met them and formed a mutual spiritual bond. They would possibly highly regard this choice young minister and treated him kindly.

 

3/.  A READINESS TO BE COMMITTED TO HUMBLE MINISTRY

 

Although they were not regarded as great apostles, teachers or pastors, yet they knew they had a task to perform of immense worth within the body of Christ. There was niche for them to work in and fulfil that would serve the increase of the Gospel of Christ. They may not be leading lights, nevertheless, they would respond to the task assigned by heaven.

 

·          They exercised a ministry of hospitality – Acts 18: 3; 26. Their home belonged to the Lord and all of God’s servants and people. They did not look selfishly on their habitation or goods but were willing to give and share and so blessed all they could with what they had. There was no holding back whatsoever from any who they could help and serve.

 

“There cannot be a more glorious object in creation than a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he may render himself most acceptable to the Creator by doing good to his creatures” – Fielding

 

·          They evidenced a ministry of instruction – Acts 18: 26. In a kind manner they not only built a close accord with Apollos, they were ready and in a position where they could teach him and he was a willing learner. As a consequence he was not only helped into added spiritual and scriptural light, a greater cutting edge was put upon his ministry so that he could serve Christ and the Church in a more profitable way.

·          They exhibited a ministry of practical service in making their home a place for the church gathering and performing a leadership role – 1 Corinthians 16: 19. It is possible they had the personal and spiritual responsibility of looking after the fellowship that existed their and were mainly committed to ministry of a spiritual order to the local fellowship. It seems that they carried an influence on a much wider front – see Romans 12: 4.

 

4/.  A WORTHY COMMENDATION FOR THEIR LIVES AND SERVICE

 

As Paul lists the people who were to be commended and applauded for their example of work and sacrificial service, this couple are highly rated and thanked by him – Romans 16: 3-5. He not only speaks of them being his helpers but they were willing to put down their lives for him. They were so primed and timed by God that they were willing to give everything, yes, themselves, too.

 

CONCLUSION

 

In summary, Christendom could do with a lot more couples like them. Their team-ship with God, each other, within the Church is a glowing witness on how Christian marriages can serve the interests of the kingdom of God on earth.

 

“I have ever deemed it more honourable and more profitable, to set a good example than to follow a bad one” -Thomas Jefferson

 

                                            

Christian Prime Timers supplied by Rev. E. Anderson

                                  

                               Rev. & Mrs. E. Anderson

A TEACHING PRIME TIMER

Taken from John Maxwell’s Leadership bible

 

Reading Acts 18: 24-28

 

Introduction

 

The book of Acts portrays Apollos as an excellent teacher. God greatly used him in a number of cultures, and he became known as the apostle’s right hand man.

 

What most impresses about Apollos , however, is his teachability. He never thought he had learned so much that he couldn’t improve his game. Luke points out several facts about him:

 

1.      He came from a cultured city – v24

2.      He was an educated man – v24

3.      He knew the Scriptures well – v24

4.      He’d been taught the Christian faith – v25

5.      He had an obvious gift – v25

6.      He taught truth accurately – v25

7.      He taught truth passionately – v26

 

Church history tells us that Apollos was such a good teacher that most people would rather listen ed to him than the apostle Paul. That’s quite a feather in his cap! This might cause us to assume he had everything together. Yet Apollos “knew only the baptism of John” – Acts 18: 25. he understood repentance. He understood what it meant to surrender to god. But he wasn’t familiar with the deeper truths of discipleship or the Spirit-filled life. So Aquila and Priscilla mentored him by taking the time to listen, evaluate, relate, and explain “the way of God” – Acts 18: 26.

 

Leaders face the danger of contentment with status quo. After all, if a leader already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should h keep growing?

 

·          Your growth determines who you are

·          Who you are determines who you attract

·          Who you attract determines the success of your organisation

 

Leaders must remain teachable.  Consider five guidelines to cultivate a teachable attitude:

 

1.     Cure your destination disease

 

Lack of teachability is rooted in achievement. If you stop growing you stop leading.

 

2.     Overcome your success

 

Success often hinders teachability. Look not on past trophies, but future goals.

 

3.     Swear off short cuts

 

Everything valuable has a price. The longest distance between two points is shortcut.

 

4.     Trade in your pride

 

Admit you don’t know everything, even though you do know some things.

 

 

5.     Never pay the price twice for the same mistake

 

Growth means you’ll make mistakes, but you must learn from each of them.

 

                                                             

Christian Prime Timers supplied by Rev. E. Anderson

                                        

                                       Rev. E. Anderson

A GENTILE PRIME TIMER

 

Acts 10

 

Introduction

 

From the Scriptures and history it is evident that God calls and uses all types of people in His kingdom. It is quite a study in God’s Word to find out these folk, where they are and what was wrought in and through them. Many were employed in the expansion of the Christian testimony in the beginning and it is a pleasure to note the developments that took place because of their divine commitment.

 

 

Amongst them is a character called Cornelius, a Roman centurion and Gentile. The Jewish world was in for a shock when God moved in on this man and his household. Peter, the great apostle, was to be profoundly disturbed by events but had to accede to the Lord’s directions and dealings.

 

One could call this Roman soldier an excellent Christian prime timer because he was primed and timed by God to fit into His purposes in the progress of the Gospel. It is a worthy and provocative exercise to see what is recorded and to note the gracious qualities that were existent in his life and service. He was a commendable man and valued by God. Although seemingly an alien, he showed some remarkable Christian traits worthy.

 

1/. HE BELIEVED IN AND TRUSTED GOD – v2

 

The first affirmation of him is in respect to his attitude towards God and it was of a holy, consistent nature – “A devout man, and one that feared God . . .” v2. This principle appears to have governed and motivated his whole inward being, sanctifying his belief and behaviour in every way. The whole household was impressed and was inspired by his example.

 

‘Piety, like the sun, communicates itself to all around it. The manners of a family are often in great measure guided by those of the master. His principles and practices frequently diffuse themselves through the house, and the piety or profaneness, the sobriety or intemperance, the sloth or diligence of servants, discover to the world the nature of that fountain from which they flow’ – Bp. Horne.

 

2/. HE DEMONSTRATED A MINISTRY OF GOOD WORKS – v2

 

He is commended as a person who was most liberal and generous, committed to the well-being and blessedness of others. The selfish streak had been dealt with as he freely gave to those around in deep need. It states “he gave much alms to the people.” Many were grateful that he was ready to distribute his wealth to others. It seems that it is a fact that God does bless  people who are willing to bless others with their goods and hospitality – e.g. Barnabas, Dorcas, Lydia etc.

 

‘His love to God led him to love men; and this love proved its sincerity by acts of beneficence and charity’ – Clarke

 

3/. HE LED A LIFE OF CONSISTENT PRAYER – v2

 

This is another outstanding quality and ministry expressed by this great individual. He must have felt that both were meaningful and profitable and the events of this chapter reveal that it was not wasted breath – v4 “your prayers and alms are come up for a memorial before God.” He evidently got the attention of the most important One of all and such was relevant to the times in which he lived.

 

‘Felt himself a dependent creature; knew he had no good but what he had received; and considered God to be the fountain whence he was to derive all his blessings. He prayed to God alway; was ever in the spirit of prayer, and frequently in the act. What an excellent character is this! And yet the man was a Gentile!’ – Clarke

 

4/.  HE WAS READY TO RECEIVE DIVINE REVELATION –v3-8

 

There must have been some sense of spiritual expectation in his heart that something significant was to be birthed that would open matters up on a greater front. Possibly whilst at prayer, just like Peter, this vision was given to him. Whilst surprised and shaken by the angel, he knows it is something he has never known before but he has an openness to what is to be affirmed and is quick to believe and respond. How delighted he must have been by what had been stated of him and of the future that was to open up!

 

‘Cornelius was disposed to do the will of God, as far as it was made known to him. Where this exists there is religion. The moral man is not’ – Barnes

 

 

5/. HE WAS OPEN TO ACCEPT GOD’S SERVANT AND PREPARED FOR HIS MINISTRY – vv25-33

 

It must have been with bated breath and a divine realisation that this apostolic messenger had something of note to declare that would make an outstanding difference to their present situation. When Peter arrives he shows a holy respect for him but the apostle reveals that he must not be worshipped. However, all assembled had been primed and timed to listen and hearken to what this divine messenger had to say and the preacher became aware that this was something new, that there was a fresh factor coming into being as he addressed these Gentiles. They were not put off because he was a Jew but knew he was the divinely sent one to convey a very relevant message and so faith was present to receive. He gave them the full Gospel and as they heard so they believed.

 

6/.  HE ALONG WITH OTHERS WAS PREPARED TO BE BLESSED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – vv34-48

 

It must have been quite an awesome for all who were assembled to witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on these Gentiles – v44. God moved in and primed and timed these new believers in a dynamic manner so that even the ones who were Jews who came with Peter were astonished. The Gentiles were full of divine speech whilst the Jewish believers were speechless!

 

‘The Spirit of God seals that in the heart of the hearers which the minister of the word speaks by the commandment of God, as is evident by the results’ – Geneva Bible Notes

 

They were not only baptised in the Holy Spirit, they were ready to be baptised in water, too – v48 thus showing the greater allegiance to God, truth and divine experience.

 

CONCLUSION

 

This historical account indicates that God does take account of people who are in quest of Him even though they do not understand everything.

 

There does come a precise time in the plan of God when He moves in to give revelation of himself and purposes and to enrich life in a dynamic fashion.

 

                                          

Christian Prime Timers provided by Rev. E. Anderson

                                          

                                       Rev. E. Anderson

THE PRIME TIMER WTH VARIED CALLINGS

 

Reading     Acts 8

 

Introduction

 

Like the other characters in God’s Word and in Christ’s apostolic team, Philip was different and was called upon to demonstrate his life and work in a number of callings. Certainly he could not be classified as the others in their persons and ministries, but he left his mark for Christ and His kingdom. He definitely was not a Peter and John and he did require their spiritual assistance on one occasion to great profit – Acts 8: 14-25, but he and his work was an integral part of the work of the whole church.

 

·          He was primed and timed by Christ. After his initial call, Philip was to learn an immense amount from His Master-Teacher and Lord. He was to be put through his paces like the rest of the apostolic band. Jesus really put him on the spot on one occasion when about to perform a great, memorable miracle – John 6: 5-7. He was concerned about the crowd and the Lord was challenging his faith and setting him up to see and extraordinary wonder.  It was a lesson that must have lived with him!

·          He was primed and timed by the Holy Spirit. He was one of the hundred and twenty in the upper room on whom the fire fell and knew what it was to speak in new tongues – ecstatic utterances – Acts 1: 13; 2: 1-4. He prayed for, welcomed the Holy Spirit and subsequently his life and ministry was imbued and inspired by Him.

 

Observing his life as a whole there are some salient points in this one who became a Christian Prime Timer.

 

1/.  HE WAS PRIMED AND TIMED TO BE A FOLLOWER – John 1: 43

 

It was Christ that took the initiative and moved in on him to call him to be a follower. He deliberately goes to choose and summon him into a close association with himself. Christ knew that He could challenge this person and that he would make the right kind of response. It would be a direct command of immense proportions but he would be ready for it. Philip required no second call as he was dynamically and dramatically impacted and without ado made Christ Lord and Master. He had evidently done his homework and sensed this was the moment and day to throw his all in with Christ.

 

2/.  HE WAS PRIMED AND TIMED TO BE A SOUL-WINNER – John 1: 44

 

      This appears to be the inspiration and devotion from the onset. Christ having found him and he having found the Messiah immediately felt the Good News must be shared and shared with a good friend who was seeking just like him. He was to be a soul-winner from the onset and this was to be a growing feature. Philip knew that Nathaniel would not be disappointed with Christ and that Christ would do all that was essential to confirm His identity to his friend and colleague. He knew if he could get him to Christ it would be enough –vv47-49. Later, he had the privilege of introducing the Greeks to Christ – 12: 20-22. He was alive within to soul winning.

 

3/.  HE WAS PRIMED AND TIMED TO BE AN APOSTLE – Matthew 10: 1–42

 

      For three and a-half years He was brought up under the personal tutelage of Christ and placed in a responsible position of being a special messenger of His. He was to be a ‘sent one’ commissioned by Christ to do a specific and vital task whilst He was with them bringing the kingdom of God into existence. He was called to go and preach the kingdom message with signs and wonders – vv5-26. They had been primed and timed to perform in a unique way and they returned with success from their mission and ministry – Luke 10: 17.

 

4/.  HE WAS PRIMED AND TIMED TO BE A DEACON – Acts 6: 5

 

      A deacon is really a servant – one who serves Christ and others. In John 6 his servanthood is manifest. He reveals genuine care and concern for the hungry multitude. How this people had been moved by Christ just like him and now they were in famished state! The Lord was to employ him and the rest of the apostles in the feeding programme and he and they were ready to act as deacons. When the Church was in need of good men to serve at tables he is prepared to give himself to this ministry, and along with Stephen did not think of it as a meaningless and trivial service. It was a privilege to be able to wait on the saints – see Mark 10: 45.

 

5/.  HE WAS PRIMED AND TIMED TO BE AN EVANGELIST – Acts 8

 

      It would seem that the Lord had bigger and greater things in mind for this man and that which was close to his heart – reaching men and women with the Christian message. He is inspired and primed to commence preaching the Good News in Samaria and before he knows it, God confirms His Word with signs and wonders and a whole city is set alight – vv5-8. A wonderful testimony to Christ is evident and a church is formed as a result. Later, he is called to act as an evangelist to one man, the Ethiopian eunuch – vv26-40. One man of importance was to be touched who would reach others on a wider front.

 

6/.  HE WAS PRIMED AND TIMED TO BE A GOOD SPIRITUAL FATHER – Acts 21: 8

 

      Paul and his team had good reason to be grateful of Philip because en-route to Jerusalem they were able to stay with him and his family. Evidently he was an hospitable man and all must have been blessed with Philip and his four daughters.  They ministered in the simple gift of prophecy as well as in a practical manner. This would indicate that he was married and had brought up his family well in spiritual matters. There must have been a choice and godly atmosphere in that home that was superintended and fathered by Christ’s servant. The daughters had apparently caught something of their father’s spirituality. It was more than a house: it was a spiritual home.

 

CONCLUSION

 

      Christ can use His people and servants and people in multiple ways but it is essential that one and all are primed and timed by Him in whatever calling He has given. As there is a proper functioning so there will be growth and success that will be felt in every area of work and ministry. It all commences with responding to the initial summons of Christ: “Follow me” – John 1: 43.

                                              

Christian Prime Timers supplied by Rev. E. Anderson

                                    

                                      Rev. E. Anderson

THE PRIME TIMER WITH PASSION

John served God with Gusto  – From John Maxwell’s Leadership Bible

 

The best single word to describe John the baptizer might be the word “passion. “John’s passion began even before he was born. He leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary spoke of her pregnancy – Luke 1:41. His passion for God grew so great, that before he began his public ministry he lived alone in the desert, wearing camel’s hair and a leather belt and eating locusts and wild honey – Matt. 3:4. He was a radical and unafraid to let anyone know it.

 

John needed passion to fulfill his God-given calling. Every pioneer needs passion. Pioneers cannot be satisfied with mere maintenance, for they have nothing yet to maintain. They create from nothing. The common folk often view them as eccentric-but their passion attracts other pioneers.

 

WHAT GAVE JOHN HIS PASSION?

 

1. He spent time in solitude.

Before John began his public ministry, he lived in the wilderness and spent much time with God. He boiled with the presence of God and could hardly stay quiet.

 

2. He felt consumed with his mission.

John knew of Jesus’ identity and His soon advent. John urgently tried to prepare dl way f6r Him.

 

3. He possessed a magnetic temperament and wiring. John is described as a voice crying out – Luke 3:4 and as an exhorter – 3:18. Like a magnet, he repelled some and attracted others.

 

4. He possessed a strong sense of justice.

When people asked John what they should do, he told them to do justice – 3:10-14. This hunger for justice drove him. He wouldn’t sit still until he saw results.

 

5. He saw things as black and white.

Like others with prophetic gifts, John saw most issues as either black or white. While this sounds narrow to most pastors or businesspersons, this is part of what gave John his passion.

 

6. He felt dissatisfied with anything but action.

John was a doer. He didn’t want people to merely talk about repentance and faith. He told the Pharisees they should bring forth fruit to prove their repentance.

 

Passion makes for an effective ministry. So how can you increase your passion?

 

·          Take your temperature. Get an honest assessment from coworkers: Are you passionate about what you do? You can’t start a fire in your organization unless it first burns in?

·          Return to your first love. Many leaders allow life to push them off track. Think back to when you first began your career. What drove you? What made you enthusiastic?

·          Associate with people of passion. Birds of a feather flock together. Hot coals stay hot when they remain in the fire. Find passionate people and let them rub off on

 

                                                 

 

Christian Prime Timers supplied by Rev. E.Anderson

                        

                             Rev. E. Anderson

THE CHIEF PRIME TIMER

 

Reading      Luke 2: 39-52

 

Text            52

 

Introduction

 

UNIQUE – SUPREME: Many choice characters adorn the Bible and can be used to illustrate what it means to be rightly primed in order to become a person with a quality nature and attributes and to serve with distinction and credit. Each life and work needs to be studied to extract everything of value that aids in personal acquisition and growth of similar factors. The one, however, who stands unique and supreme above all is Jesus Christ. A review of His life, nature, work and accomplishments convey the truth that He appears right out in front as the one who was completely and overwhelmingly set up to accomplish the greatest things any individual has achieved.

 

PERFECT EXAMPLE: Because He is stands out ahead, He is the worthy, inspiring pattern to look at and take note of. Christendom hails Christ as the One to be primarily considered and copied by His indwelling and inspiration. He is seen as the absolute model for every one of His followers to observe and emulate. The one who heads the Christian Church did not fail in any respect and serve as the absolute pattern to be acknowledged and reproduced under His Lordship and leadership. He does not want any to miss out on being properly and divinely primed and timed so that they can attain the highest expectations in life, ministry and service.

 

GREAT INPUT: Analysing the Scriptures in reference to Him in this connection unveils the truth and fact that He was certainly primed and timed for His appearance and mission. He did not come and act independently but was in harmony with other vital persons and spiritual asset that He allowed to enter and dominate His thinking, believing, attitudes and doings. Right from the outset He developed in a steady progressive manner until He was ready to accomplish the mission for which He was sent. The writer states: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men” – Luke 2: 52.  This surely indicates that He was divinely prepared in life for the extraordinary role He was to fulfil.

 

There were three major causes for His wonderful maturing and scheduling for the major work of history for mankind.

 

  1. HE WAS TRULY PRIMED AND TIMED BY GOD THE FATHER

 

A review of the Gospels, especially John, uncovers the solid fact that He had a continuous wholesome reverence for God the Father. This was the ruling feature of His existence on earth. To His human parents He made the salient point very early: “Did you not know that I must be about my father’s business?” – Luke 2: 49 In this teenager there was a commitment and abandonment to see that the Father had priority in His life and affairs.

 

There was a very strong imperative within Him concerning doing what was vital on His Father’s agenda. On one occasion He affirmed: “I must work the work the works of Him that sent Me whilst it is day”, thus revealing what principle was installed within Him in His ministry – John 9: 4. He is primed and driven relentlessly on a daily basis to knowing and seeing what His Father had planned and was to be brought to regular fruition.

 

There evidently was no failure on this front because He openly confessed His success with regard to this – “I always do those things that please the Father” – John 8: 29. Prior to the Cross in His high priestly prayer He said: “I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work you gave Me to do” – John 17: 4. With an honest humility he could address His Father and let the world know that He had succeeded in His life and ministry in performing all that heaven required. What He had been primed and timed for by the Father was brought to pass. All that had been revealed and imparted was perfectly realized. Nothing was left undone.

 

As can be seen, He was primed and timed by the Father to face the Cross and there accomplish the goal of His mission. On the Cross He is in perfect agreement with His Father’s wishes and workings and at the end of the ordeal He said two choice things: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”, and, “It is finished” – Luke 23: 46; John 19: 30. Nothing was an accident but all prearranged by the Father, submitted to and accomplished by Christ for the glory of the Father.

 

  1. HE WAS FULLY PRIMED AND TIMED BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

It is very obvious from the Gospel narratives that the Holy Spirit had a role to fulfil in the priming and timing of Jesus Christ. The third member of the Godhead was equally active in inspiring and supporting His person, mission and ministry. He had been highly involved in creating the body in which Christ was to reside and manifest His person and glory – Luke 1: 26 -38 and see v35.

 

Even before His appearance and anointing for public ministry and service the Holy Spirit was there in the background priming and timing Him in a perfect manner and measure as He submitted himself to divine tuition – see Isaiah 11: 1-5; 50: 4, 5. In those private years there was a hearing of the voice of the Spirit and a response to His tutelage.

 

As the Christ, the anointed One, He had to be anointed for ministry of a unique order and so it happened – Matthew 3: 1, 16, 17. The next three and half years He was to live and flow under the Holy Spirit’s constant inspiration. He could say as He commenced His task: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me” – Luke 4: 18. He let His enemies know that “He cast out demons by the Spirit of God” – Matthew 12: 28.

 

We are informed by the writer to the Hebrews with regard to His act of giving himself in sacrifice on the Cross that the Holy Spirit was there as a primer, prompter and enabler – Hebrews 9: 14.  It seems that Christ looked to the Holy Spirit for His bestowings, blessing and backing so that all would coincide with the Godhead’s designs.

 

  1. HE WAS DULY PRIMED AND TIMED BY THE WORD OF TRUTH

 

The Old Testament writings were of utmost importance to Jesus Christ and it is apparent that He allowed His life and work to be primed by them. He gave credence to them.

 

It is evident that He knew where to find the apt and appropriate Scripture at the right time concerning himself – see Luke 4: 16-20.

 

There is an appealing to the Scriptures for their revelation and confirmation throughout His ministry. He made His appeal to them and rebuked the religious opposition of His day because they knew not the scriptures – Mark 12: 10, 24.

 

He made sure that in His death and suffering every prophetic word of the Scripture was fulfilled in its connection thus showing how much he was primed and influence by the voice and words of the prophets – John 19: 24, 28.

 

He gave a wonderful discourse to two men on the Emmaus Road from the Old Testament concerning himself thus proving how much God’s Word directed Him – Luke 24: 27, 32. He was in position where He could prime and time them of prophetic utterance revealed and fulfilled.

 

CONCLUSION

 

The simple application that comes from this sacred mediation is this: just as Christ was primed and timed by His Father, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, so every Christian believer and leader must be.

 

In so doing, divine achievement and success is sure to occur and the approbation of the Godhead will be upon those who live and work accordingly.

 

                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Prime Timers presented by Rev. E. Anderson

                            

                                 Rev. E. Anderson

THE BLESSING OF LATER LIFE

 

READING   92

 

It is good to note and know that later life in God does have some distinct advantages.  There are things to be appreciated and valued at this particular point that should serve to the glory of God and to our greater usefulness and blessedness. It is not all up and finished when we reach the final period of our pilgrimage. Much should be in evidence that brings a wonderful finishing touch to life, mission and ministry. They need to be highlighted so that we can keep our vision clear, our passion pure and strong and our performance good and effective.

 

1/.   LATER LIFE SHOULD SEE US IN A STATE OF HIGHEST WISDOM

 

One of the great prayers prayed by one of the noble servants of God in the Bible, Moses, was:  “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” – Psalm 90: 12. Again in the book of wise sayings: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding . . . “– Proverbs 3:13-18.  One may not become fabulously rich but we can be become very wise both naturally and spiritually. Age should create and effect a great deal of wisdom and wisdom contains hindsight, insight and foresight. Knowing where you have come from and lessons learned; Knowing where you are and what is actually taking place in your affairs of a Godward nature; knowing where you are going so that you have a clear faith and perspective for all your tomorrows. What a treasure to have those kind of people within the Christian community! There needs to be a fount of rich wisdom existent and flowing through our lives.

 

2/.  LATER LIFE SHOULD SEE US FULL OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY

 

The real spiritual growth and development should have taken place throughout the years in the spiritual and physical sense so that all can note the maximum achievement and be blessed. All the ‘I’ should have gone and the pure and full nature of Jesus Christ be embodied and expressed at every level in every part of our lives every day. We do not make excuse for old age because we possess the life of a new age in us and is to operate in a great manner and measure. The fruit of the Spirit of Christ becomes more evident and productive and there is now a sweetness and freshness that others can taste from our contribution to life and living – Galatians 5: 22-24. Throughout the years there has developed a more conformity to Christ, to His life and input and expectations. There has been an adding to on a constant basis a lot of Christian virtues – 2 Peter 1:3-10. This is why we have been called into the Christian Gospel and Christendom – Romans 8: 29.

 

Illustration:  Our house and garden when we took over in 1988 but over the years it has been transformed and matured into significance, beauty and pleasure.

 

There has got to come the home improvement factor at a personal level. God is wanting more than anything else to bring us to the place where we attain a true stature in and through Jesus Christ. Everyone can see our likeness to the image of Christ our pattern and example.

 

3/.  LATER LIFE SHOULD SEE IS US SERVING IN AN ENCOURAGING ROLE

 

When we come to the final run in we do not cease to be active and spend out days moaning and murmuring. It is essential to discover the task and assignment that the Lord wills that we should play within the Christian community. We may not be able to play up front in the team and display boundless energies and abilities, but there is an assignment from heaven that He designs that we should function in and fulfill. The Lord does not have an unemployment office nor a scrap or junk yard.

 

Illustration:   Anna, a prophetess, still busy in spiritual ministry in late life – Luke 2: 36-38

 

It has been said so often in these days: “It is not over until it’s over.’  There should be no retirement or giving in or giving up until the Lord affirms it to be so. When our time on the actual field of play is over we can act in a profitable and pleasurable coaching role inspiring, teaching and training others out of the wealth of experience that is our lot.

 

3/. LATER LIFE SHOULD SEE US FULLY PREPARED FOR A SUCCESSFUL ENTRANCE INTO THE ETERNAL KINGDOM

 

Seeing that we are a step away from eternity we should be making honest and earnest effort to make sure that our exodus is going to be the best possible. There should be no neglect or indolence with regard to getting wholly ready for the next important consideration: heaven and eternity and the prospect of meeting the Lord and experiencing a good judgment both on our lives and service – 2 Corinthians 5:10.

 

As Peter affirms, if we have responded to the Lord in the measures stated – “ an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” – 2 Peter 1: 11. No one can afford to have any slip-ups on this. God wants us to finish well here so we may enjoy the movement into the greater life, world and kingdom. One is not looking for a coffin but a divine carriage into the eternal scene!

 

CONCLUSION

 

We have some thinking to do: what are we going to do with respect to what remains of our lives? Be wise – be mature – be useful – be ready!

 

Decision and action is called for so that it becomes the most productive period of life – Psalm 92: 13, 14. It is not coercion but choice is required.

 

OLDER BUT NOT FINISHED YET!

 

I’m getting older Lord – Well we all live I know

But you know what I mean Lord, I’m rather getting slow

My bones are definitely creaking and my eyesight not too good

And as far as my hearing, well it’s not working as it should.

 

My memory is fading fast, I can’t remember much at all

Except what happened when I was young but last week-end I can’t recall

Sometimes when I think about it I wonder what’s happening to me

My mind knows what it wants to do but my body wont let it be.

 

I really could get quite depressed at all that’s going on right now

There’s still so much I want to do which my body wont allow

I don’t feel much different inside than I did when I was young

But as life goes on the only thing still working well appears to be my tongue.

 

But I’m not going to get depressed Lord because one thing is still sure

You are just faithful to me now as you have been before

You knew all about me, my limitations and all my fears

So I can have every confidence in you as I cope with advancing years.

And I thank you Lord and Saviour that you still are calling me

To work for you though in different spheres so that I can be

Everything you want me to be; giving you my all

Knowing that however weak I am, You will never let me fall.

 

Oh Lord, I long to serve you with everything I have and own

There is nothing that I want to keep or withhold from your throne

Because I know whatever state I’m in or whatever comes my way

You will always be with me to uphold and strengthen every single day.

 

                                    

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