A Climate of Fear

Over the last week we have seen fear run riot across our society. The corona virus, COVID 19, has ruined my potential holiday to Italy, but it has also single handedly plunging Europe, and indeed the world, into a recession.

In my life time I cannot remember hysteria like we have seen in the last few weeks. I’ve lived through 911, and I flew to Europe in September 11th 2001 in defiance of the fear of those around me. Today, in what is a genuine pandemic and global emergency, we have seen unprecedented levels of fear in the media and among governments worldwide.

Major sporting events have been cancelled, with no football in Europe, Asia or America. Concerts and festivals cancelled. In some places like Italy, schools, churches and museums are closed. Fear is everywhere, disrupting and controlling the lives of 7 billion people. But the Bible says,


Psalms 27:1 (ESV Strong’s)

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?


Make no mistake, the world is enslaved right now. A few thousand will die of the corona virus, but billions will suffer financially as a result of the fear and hysteria created around it. So today I want to look at a Christian response to the corona virus pandemic…




Let’s make it clear we are seeing a worldwide tragedy unfolding.


Fears about the corona virus have wiped out nearly 4 trillion dollars in the US stock market, with the biggest weekly loss since 2008. Many countries are in total lockdown, and cruise ships are floating Petri dishes. Many are afraid to go out of their homes. Life appears to be grinding to a halt! It controls us. But,


2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV Strong’s)

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.


So let’s exercise a sound mind and look at the facts, so we can shine a light of hope into a world plunging into darkness. In all the mess, the hysteria, the fear mongering, this is our moment to shine!


Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong’s)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.




Here are some facts you need to know about COVID 19…


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that had not been previously identified in humans. The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia. In rare cases, particularly among those who are elderly, have compromised immune systems or severe respiratory conditions, it can be fatal. It’s rare, but if you’re the one, it’s bad.


Spread of the disease can be limited by washing hands, staying home when sick and avoiding infected people.


I understand the role of hand sanitiser in this, but I am still unsure of the role of toilet paper.


The corona virus is a mild flu. It’s not the plague, or a flesh eating microbe. Because it is hard to tell how many are actually infected, the ratio of deaths to infections is high, around 3.4%. But epidemiologists agree this is grossly over estimated due to the lack of testing and confirmed cases. They believe it is under 1%.


Let’s talk numbers. Around 5,000 people have died of the COVID 19 so far. In the last 12 months it is estimated that 650,000 died of the common flu, for which we have a vaccine. 33 times more died of common flu. The largest pandemic in history was the Spanish flu of 1918, which infected 1/3 of the planet’s population and killed between 20-50 million people worldwide, double what world war 1 killed.


But the media, seizing and sensationalising figures like 3.4% death rate have driven this incredible fear within which we now live. While some is healthy, much of it today is destructive.


What does fear actually do?




Psalms 143:4 (ESV Strong’s)

Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.

New Living Translation

I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.


The devil uses fear to paralyses you. Many people are so fearful they cannot act. Agoraphobics cannot go out of the house, clostrophobics have fear of small spaces, , acrophobics are afraid of heights. Pediophobics are afraid of dolls, decidophobics fear making decisions. Omphalophobia is fear of belly buttons, arachi-butero- phobia is being afraid of peanut button sticking to the roof of your mouth, and one we can all relate to is nomophobia, fear of being without mobile phone coverage. A moment’s silence for those on Vodaphone. My favourite fear of phobia is called Hippo-poto-monstro-ses-quippe-dalio-phobia: People who are afraid of Long Words.


Fear can paralyse you and control and ruin your life.




People with phobia are controlled by their fear. The enemy wants to control peoples lives, and He uses fear to do it. It stopped me traveling to where I wanted to go, it may stop all travel. It’s stopped sporting and cultural events, and it is controlling how people live. It makes people buy toilet paper.


Romans 8:15 (ESV Strong’s)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”


People right now are slaves to fear, because it is controlling their behaviour. It does not set you free, it enslaves you. Right now the whole world is being enslaved by fear.



Fear stunts your progress and growth. If you are fearful, you are afraid to step out and try something, so you miss opportunities to develop.


Joshua 1:9 (ESV Strong’s)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”


When you live enslaved to it, your potential is limited. When you come to Christ, why should you be afraid, because your life is in His hands?


2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV Strong’s)

for we walk by faith, not by sight.


People who let fear control and limit them are walking by sight, but we are called to walk by faith.




What you’ll notice right now is that people’s focus is completely absorbed by fear.  What is everyone talking about? What is Facebook full of? Being afraid causes us to focus on earthly, immediate, fearful things, not one long term or important stuff. In a year’s time. Will you be afraid to shake hands or walk past toilet paper without buying it?


In this fearful climate, this is your opportunity to


Colossians 3:2 (ESV Strong’s)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.


To focus on loving and caring for people, not on your own preservation. Much of what people are currently focussed on is not fact, it’s sensationalised fear.




At the start of his presidency, Franklin D Roosevelt faced the Great Depression. People were starving, unemployed, destitute and without hope. At his inaugural speech he said these words, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.” I think these words are appropriate for right now, don’t you?


Yes, it is powerful as we are currently seeing. It is terrifying, it is destructive but it is not our master, Christ is!  People in this world fear dying, but they also fear living. People fear not having enough money, but they also fear to lose the money they have. They are afraid of the virus, but also are afraid a recession.


A few might be infected with COVID 19, but all of us are infected with fear!


Peter experienced fear when he stood by the fire while Jesus was being tried.


Elijah had a mighty victory against the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel, then ran in fear of Jezebel.


Fear respects no one! Anyone can fall victim to fear. Even Timothy, with the Christian upbringing in the home, his training at the feet of Paul, and spiritual his gifts, fell victim to fear. Yet through it all God says,


Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV Strong’s)

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”


The phrase “fear not” is used more than 80 times in the Bible, because God knows the enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit  our victories.


So I believe that right now God is calling us to stand without fear in a climate of fear! And as Steven Wright once quipped, “What happens if you get scared half to death twice?”




This world calls sinful behaviour normal, and attacks Christians without mercy. But this same world is now running scared, and I believe we have a unique opportunity to shine into their darkness…


Philippians 2:14-15 (ESV Strong’s)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,


We can shine and overcome fear when others are victimised by it. How?




Hebrews 11:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


Faith sees differently. Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. There was no one there. Without downplaying the seriousness of a pandemic, you do not have to swallow the sensationalised fear mongering that the media is peddling. The eyes of faith can see the long term, eternal and important things. Faith doesn’t lurch from crisis to crisis, it believes for greater things to come, and it offers what the others cannot offer… Hope!




An experienced paratrooper was asked how many jumps he had to his credit. He responded, “Twenty‑five.” Then, with his head held low he added, “Actually, it was only one jump.” … “I only jumped once, the other twenty-four times I was pushed.”


Sometimes God will push us in order to help us overcome our fear. He wants us to know that the power to overcome is present not because we are great or better than anyone else, but because He is present in our lives.


Psalms 112:6-8 (ESV Strong’s)

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.


Why be fearful? We can face our fears with His faith and trust God. Others have nothing, others can be consumed by fear, but we can have faith!


God is like a father standing in the pool beckoning his child to jump into His arms. The child is reluctant. At last, the child sees the father’s large, strong arms and smiling face, and jumps. There is no way that father is going to let the child drown! That is how God wants us to trust Him in every situation.


God willing, Fiona and I are headed back to Fiji, where I did my scuba diving ticket. I’m going to meet the same people again. In my course, on my 4th dive, the locals had failed to clean a valve and it seized up, causing my air to stop when I was 18m underwater. I nearly died. But an hour later I went back to another dive. I chose to confronted my fear, and I will do so again this week.




1 John 4:18-19 (ESV Strong’s)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.


We have love to cast our fear. But this is not our love for God – it is His love for us. You need not fear; He loves you!


You see, it is not just God’s strength that causes us to trust Him, it is His love! He loves us and even if we are going through hardships, He is working behind the scenes to bring about a good purpose.


Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong’s)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


All things, even the tough ones, even the scary ones! When you truly know the God of all creation loves you, and cares for you, and will never let your foot slip, then you can face anything, any virus, any persecution, any fear!


Psalms 121:1-4 (ESV Strong’s)

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.


If you can trust Him to save your soul, you ought to be able to trust Him to take care of you. You are His beloved child.




Sometimes we know God, we eve trust God but our mind runs riot. As I plunge into the Emerald water and dive lower and lower, my mind imagines death and destruction, sharks coming out of the gloom, all kinds of fears! They’re not real, they are my imagination.


A large, old Bible, frequently used by Abraham Lincoln during the critical years of the Civil War, falls open easily to Psalm 34. One page of that Bible has a smudge where the President placed his finger often. It’s this verse…


Psalms 34:4 (ESV Strong’s)

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.


We face fear, just like the rest of the world, but let not your mind be troubled.


2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV Strong’s)

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.


Let me finish by examining this verse in the Greek, because we can gain valuable insight into how we should behave right now.


God gave us a spirit not of fear. The Greek word for fear used here is not the usual PHOBE, but it is DEILIA, which means timidity or cowardice. It is a call to, when faced with a fearful situation, choose courage over cowardice. To confront, stand firm and defeat the enemy, and not cower back in this climate of fear.


But what of the three descriptions of the Spirit we do have?


Power. The Greek for power is DYNAMIS, which is strength and power due to an inherent ability. It is used to describe powerful influence by wealthy people, the power of having and army or huge resources behind you and the power to perform miracles. It’s the word from which we get the English DYNAMITE. Explosive power. The power is not of your own doing, but you channel the power.


LOVE. The Greek here is AGAPE, unconditional, unrelenting, all triumphing love that knows not limits and no bounds. Perfect love comes from God and casts our fear.


Sound mind. In Greek SOPHRONISMOS, meaning self control or control of one’s behaviour and thoughts.  It means being sensible, not foolish, being balanced not alarmist and being Christ centred not crisis centred.




When the world is running in fear, we can stand against the fear with power, love and a sound mind.


So, we must be sensible. Ease up on handshakes, hugs and missing, but let’s not fall into line and fall victim to the fear tactics of the enemy. The corona virus is big, but my God is bigger, and we can show the world how to live by faith when they are cowering in fear.


Now, there is one type of person here in this service, or out in the world, that has a right to be afraid. If you have never trusted Christ, you are one heartbeat from meeting God.


Hebrews 9:27 (ESV Strong’s)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,


Without Christ fear has free reign, you are it’s slave and it is your master, but when you come to Jesus, His love and power creates a sound mind that does not live in fear.


1 John 4:4 (ESV Strong’s)

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.


If you don’t know Jesus, I want to give you the chance to come to Him right now and begin to conquer your fears whatever they may be.


Sometimes, even when you love God, you need reminding that He is greater, He is in you and He will protect and lead you. Whether you are fearful of the coronavirus, or struggling with fear of loss, loneliness, failure or any other fear, this is for you. Some of you in business look ahead with fear.


I have asked God for a special Anointing to conquer fear today. If you are fearful, come and let’s triumph over fear together. Let’s lay our fears aside and trust God completely.


So let’s finish with a promise from God, for you and I today as we face the threat of the corona virus…


Psalms 91:1-11 (ESV Strong’s)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his pinions,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

You will only look with your eyes

and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—

the Most High, who is my refuge—

no evil shall be allowed to befall you,

no plague come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways.

From Here to Eternity

“From Here to Eternity” was a film starring Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Cliff which won 8 Academy Awards in 1954, but long before then and ever since then eternity is a subject we rarely speak about, but constantly think about. The Bible says…

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV Strong’s)

he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

If we truly concentrated on eternity, the way we live our life would change!



Arthur Stace was a returned soldier from WW1, a down and out, illiterate alcoholic who became a Christian in 1930 and wondered what he could do for God. 2 years later he heard evangelist John G Ridley preach, “Eternity, Eternity, I wish that I could sound or shout that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?”


From that point on, Mr Stace left for work at 5 am every day, and wrote several times the word eternity on the footpaths of the city, and over 35 years he is estimated to have written Eternity some 500,000 times, narrowly avoiding arrest 24 times. Thousands were stirred by this single word, and thousands came to Christ, even though Arthur never led anyone to Jesus himself. Years later Sydney honoured this humble man by plastering the word Eternity in his famous copperplate script on the Harbour Bridge in 2000, and at the Sydney Olympics.


Isaiah 57:15 (ESV Strong’s)

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”


As believers, we say we believe in eternity, in Heaven and hell, but frankly we don’t live like it! A simple, humble man like Arthur Stace can remind us that what we see today, right here, is just a fraction of eternity!




We look at this world… houses, cars, mountains, sea, friends, family… they seem so real, they seem so tangible and permanent, but the Bible cautions us against focussing in temporal things…


1 Corinthians 15:53-55 (ESV Strong’s)

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”


This world seems so real, but it lacks longevity. We’re all going to die and it’s all going to burn, folks! Like the flowers of the field, it is here today, but gone tomorrow, and despite that fact that we know this world is temporary, we build our entire lives upon this shifting sand!


Paul did not downplay the existence or importance of the temporal or physical world, unlike Greek philosophers. He acknowledged it, lived in it and wanted to maximise it for Christ. However, he did not focus on it, for his focus was far higher than the physical.




2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV Strong’s)

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.


The Greek word for look to is SCOPEO, which means, “to focus one’s eyes or attention on, to set a goal or end.” It talks about not focusing on the temporal, the light and momentary affliction which is the pain and heartache we go through in life, but to focus in the “eternal weight of glory.”


The image here is of an old scale, with our daily troubles and afflictions on one side, and the eternal glory, the forever rewards we will receive on the other. Our current pain and suffering may seem heavy right now, but when you put them in the scale, they seem light because the eternal glory far exceeds anything we can go through while on earth!


So the question is not whether you will suffer in your life, because clearly you will. The question is simply this… what will you decide to focus on?




A comedian once said, “I’m going to live forever… so far, so good.” But what really lasts forever?


The things of this world seem so real because we can see them and feel them; but they are all temporal and destined to pass away. But how can you possibly begin to see the intangible, the eternal that seems invisible? The answer? Faith…


Hebrews 11:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


We need eyes of faith to see that which our natural eyes cannot see, yet which is far more real and eternal that what our physical eyes see. So how can we focus on the eternal? By seeing through faith the things that are eternal. And what actually is eternal? The  Bible says only 3 things…


1.      GOD


God Himself is eternal. Therefore, His love for you is eternal…


Psalms 90:2 (ESV Strong’s)

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalms 103:17 (ESV Strong’s)

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,


The Hebrew word for eternal is OLAM, which means without beginning or end, and comes from the word meaning concealed… so far back or forward and point is impossible to see.


2.      GOD’S WORD


Isaiah 40:8 (ESV Strong’s)

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.


The Bible is the Word of God, truth from cover to cover, and it will stand forever! That why I want you to do our reading plan, because this is God’s Word, and like God, it is eternal.  Put this into your heart, and you will begin to have an eternal perspective to live in this temporary world!




Make no mistake, the souls of men and women live for eternity. God has placed eternity in the hearts of men, and He has made a way that we can also live with Him for eternity, or not.


Hebrews 9:27 (ESV Strong’s)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,


I’m not going to sugar coat this… all people, from Scott Morrison to Donald Trump, to you and I to a beggar on the streets of Delhi, every one of us faces eternity. You might say you don’t believe in eternity, but your opinion, whether you believe or not, matters little to God. He not asking your opinion. Whether you believe or not, Eternity exists, and you are part of it. The only question is, “where will you spend it?”




No one in their right mind would choose hell, a place of eternal torment, over heaven, eternity with God.  But you don’t get to choose where you will spend eternity, God does and He will judge everyone. You DO get to choose how you live your life, and the choices you make in your life, those choices choose what you face in eternity. You might not choose to go to hell, but by choosing to ignore God’s free gift of eternal life, you choose by default, and you sign your own death warrant!


Galatians 6:7-8 (ESV Strong’s)

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.


There are 2 ways to heaven… 1. Never sin, never tell a lie. Never be selfish, never have an evil thought, never hurt anyone. Clearly, none of us can get to heaven that way, because…


Romans 3:23 (ESV Strong’s)

all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


The second way, in fact only way, is to allow Jesus to take the punishment for your sins, and accept the free gift He offers you. You can have eternity with God in heaven, because…


Romans 6:23 (ESV Strong’s)

the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


There will be many one day who will be sent to a lost eternity without Jesus Christ in hell. It’s the broad road that leads to destruction. And when this happens, as is man’s way, they will try and blame God instead of their own foolish decisions…


Proverbs 19:3 (ESV Strong’s)

When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.


Listen, don’t blame God, what more can God do? He has given the best of heaven in His own Son. If you reject His provision for you, if you say no to Jesus today, get ready for an eternity of torment and anguish in hell, no matter how nice or kind you think you are, your niceness won’t save you… you’ll be the nicest guy in hell, that’s all!




Heaven is going to be beyond description. Look outside at the mountains, the forests, the oceans and the stars. 6 days God took to create the world, but He’s been working on heaven for 2000 years…  imagine how awesome it must be! It’s a perfect place, it’s a privileged place, it’s a prepared place! And Jesus is saying, “Come, join me in my house!”


John 14:2-3 (ESV Strong’s)

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.


Heaven is where God Himself lives, and everything that goes with Him. It’s full of light, full of joy, full of music, full of laughter and love. But hell is the opposite, the absence of all that… the Bible describes the unsaved like this…


2 Thessalonians 1:9 (ESV Strong’s)

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,


Some say, “I’ll be in hell with all my mates, we’ll break open a pack of cards and drink beer and have fun.” No you won’t! Hell is just the opposite of heaven… it is everything God is not. It is pain and torment, it is darkness and fear, it is loneliness and isolation. And this torment lasts forever, without hope of rescue or relief. And perhaps the greatest torment of all is remembering every time you rejected God’s offer of life.



You might be saying, “You’re trying to scare me,” and the answer is, YES I AM!


2 Corinthians 5:11 (ESV Strong’s)

Therefore, knowing the fear (KJV terror) of the Lord, we persuade others.


I know what’s coming, and so yes, I want to scare you by telling you the truth and letting you make a valid decision. I do this because I love you. If you were standing on the train tracks, with an oncoming train, is the loving thing just to let you get killed by the train, or to warn you and urge you to get off the tracks to safety. My love for you and the fear of God compels me to tell you truth!


Eternity matters, and what’s more, in the end, it’s all that matters. If most people are honest, everybody has an inkling that eternity is out there somewhere, because God placed eternity in the hearts of men. But sadly even many Christians forget about eternity and live for today, just like everyone else. In this regard, we are not only selfish and unloving towards others, but their blood will be on our hands if we don’t warn them! We might live on earth, but we rarely live in the light of eternity.


Ezekiel 3:18-19 (ESV Strong’s)

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.


Church, we need to get this… This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls, right across the earth.  Country club Christianity doesn’t cut it any more! If we truly have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and compassion, then we cannot sit idly by while our friends, family, fellow Aussies and people around the world slide into the abyss of hell! Eternity should, indeed must matter to us, more than anything else! As Keith Green sang, “The world is sleeping in the dark that the church just can’t fight, coz it’s asleep in the light!”


Church, it’s time to wake up. It’s time to live with eternity burned onto our retinas! It’s not enough to float through life as a Christian, to just scrape through so we can get to Heaven. No, we need our hearts moved, to get more desperate about saving others, more desperate about reaching our nation, more hungry to serve Jesus. My aim in life is to get to Heaven, and take as many people as I can with me! And I can’t do this concentrating on temporal things!




Eternity matters, but what happens from here to eternity matters too! We have a nice church, with great fellowship and we’ve seen phenomenal growth. But it’s not enough, I want more! I don’t want a nice church, I want an ignited church! I’m praying for these seats to be filled with people desperately seeking God, and desperately seeking how to serve Him. I’m not satisfied, I want more, so should you, and there’s always more! More salvations, more baptisms, more people, more souls!


Some of you here turn up for church, semi regularly, and feel like you’ve made a connection to God. That’s great, welcome to the bottom rung of the spiritual ladder, but please don’t stay there! Stats tell us that people who consider themselves committed attend church once in 6 weeks!


I know you have a life outside of church. You work, earn money, take care of kids, watch TV. You travel away on holidays, you read good books, you have coffee with friends and life is great. But


Matthew 16:26 (ESV Strong’s)

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?


The one gaining the world yet losing his soul has lost sight of eternity, of what is real and what really matters in life. I confess you you, sometimes that is me. Sometimes I get overwhelmed in living that I forget to live life to the full. I now in front of you as your pastor, I repent of losing sight of eternity! It’s time I got desperate, because I have limited time remaining in my life to make a difference in this sorry, sin soaked world!




John 10:10 (ESV Strong’s)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.


I don’t want to just live, I want to live life abundantly, I want to live my life totally for Jesus.


And I want the same for you. Stop right now, have a look at your life. What do you think about, what do you focus on. Money, friends, family… what? How can we cruise through life having fun while people are dying, 2 people every second, most without Christ, most going to hell!


If we decide to live focused on eternity, then we are going to see our lives change. Listen, our country desperately needs us to step up, and stand up for what is right and true and honourable.


If we are not focused on and investing in God, His Word and the souls of men and women, then I believe we are missing the point of why we are here and what’s worse, we have blood on our hands!


Ezekiel 22:30 (ESV Strong’s)

And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.


We just accept what society dishes up as normal, because we are not living in the light of eternity. We can’t see eternity for the pleasures of this world, because our minds are not on eternity.


Colossians 3:2 (ESV Strong’s)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.




I believe that God is asking us as Ignite church to choose this day whom we will serve. I believe God is calling us to shift our focus, to realign our priorities, to make a difference in our nation, and around the world. He is calling us to become salt and light in a twisted and perverted generation that desperately needs hope!


All that remains is for you to choose. I’m choosing right now to live for eternity…


Joshua 24:15 (ESV Strong’s)

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, …But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”


Like Isaiah, when God looks for faithful people who live focussed on eternity …


Isaiah 6:8 (ESV Strong’s)

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”


Will you join me? I look at you and I see greatness. I look in your eyes and see into your souls, and I see incredible things God can do in and through you. All it takes is for you to say, “Here am I, send me!” Many look at a block of stone and just see a rock. But Michelangelo saw greatness within that rock, and took hammer and started chipping away. In time everyone began to see what once only the sculptor saw. I don’t care what others have said about you, I see greatness if you would allow Jesus to sculpt your life.


Will you join me today? Will you stand before God and covenant with Him to focus on eternity?


2 Corinthians 5:9-10 (ESV Strong’s)

So whether we are at home (here on earth) or away (in eternity with Christ), we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.


Leonard Ravenhill wrote, “Oh that believers would become eternity-conscious! If we could live every moment of every day under the eye of God, if we did every act in the light of the judgment seat, if we prayed every prayer in the light of the judgment seat, if we tithed all our possessions in the light of the judgment seat, if we preachers prepared every sermon with one eye on damned humanity and the other on the judgment seat—then we would have a Holy Ghost revival that would shake this earth and that, in no time at all, would liberate millions of precious souls.”


Today I invite you to stand with me and commit to focusing on eternity.

The Cross- Good Friday 2019

The cross… Today we see crosses on the top of churches, or hanging from people’s necks, but 2000 years ago, no one would wear a cross as jewelry.

The cross was not a fun symbol at all, it was a symbol of unimaginable pain, incalculable shame and utter despair. Only criminals were executed on a cross, and to wear a cross around your neck 2000 years ago would be like wearing a hangman’s noose around your neck today!

1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV Strong’s)

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


So on this Good Friday, the day when we remember Jesus’ death upon a cross, I want to focus on the cross, it’s significance and ask, “What does it all mean today 2000 years later?” What was the cross all about, and why did it have to happen?


To answer that question I want you to come with me, back in time 2000 years and walk the road to the cross with Jesus.




The Bible tells us that, if we sin, we are destined for a lost eternity, separated from God forever in hell. People got upset this week when Israel Folau suggested that homosexuals are going to Hell. Well, you can get offended if you like, but he’s right! I didn’t say it, God did. They are destined for hell, as are adulterers, thieves, gossips, people with anger, doubt, fear or selfishness.


Romans 3:23 (ESV Strong’s)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


We are all of us guilty of sin, every one of us! We are all destined to hell. All of us have sinned… I have, and you have. Ever got angry at someone? Ever been envious? Ever been selfish? Ever hurt someone or let them down?


All of these things are sin, and all of them separate you and I from God. In the OT, sacrifices were required for sin, to reconcile us back to God…


Hebrews 9:22 (ESV Strong’s)

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.


So rather than kill us and shed our blood for sin, Jesus came and paid the price for us. He left His home in glory, and came to us with the express intent of dying in our place.


We all need the cross, and though the world hates it and thinks it foolish, we know it is salvation for every single one of us!


I should have been hanging on that cross, you should have been. But He chose to give His life for ours. He experienced what we should have experienced, to give us what we never deserved… a chance to be right with God. Why? Because He loves us.




A holy and just God cannot simply excuse sin, because if He did, He would no longer be holy. If God just let everyone into heaven, heaven would be hell! So instead of excusing us, or condemning us to a lost eternity, God solution was to find us guilty and then pay the price for us. We stand accused before the judge, the penalty is a million dollar fine or death, and we are helpless to pay the fine. The gavel falls, out fate is sealed, but once sentence is pronounced, the judge Himself breaks out His wallet and pays the price, setting us free.


That is the motivation of the cross. God paid the penalty for our sin by sacrificing His own Son in our place.


Philippians 2:5-8

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


The Bible tells us that Jesus is God. He’s not a god, He’s not a created being, He is actually God, but He chose to empty Himself and come as a servant, as a sacrifice, for you and I. God’s motive in sending His one and only Son was because He loves you..


A true story is told of a drawbridge keeper on the Mississippi in 1937, who brought his 8 year old son to work one day. The draw bridge was raised as a train approached, and it was time to lower the bridge, but he saw his son had tripped and fallen into the gear assembly.  He could see the child was hurt but trapped, but the Memphis express train was approaching, so the man faced a choice… save his son, and hundreds of people on the train plunge into the river, or sacrifice his son and the trainload of people live. He pushed the lever, the bridge began to lower and the train went over the bridge as he heard the screams of his dying little boy.


Make no mistake, nails did not hold Jesus to the cross, love did. He died in your place, because He loves you!




The road to the cross showed us how Jesus can relate to all of us, whatever we have been through.


Matthew 27:30-31

And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.


Jesus was betrayed by a close friend. Some of you here have experienced that, where a supposed friend has let you down or betrayed you. He understands because it happened to Him.


He was unjustly accused, and unjustly convicted. Many of you have been unjustly accused of something you have not done, and He understands because that is what happened to Him.


Jesus was abused horribly.


They whipped Him, they placed a crown of thorns on His head, with thorns longer than a man’s fingers, and mocked Him, driving those spikes into His head with blow after blow. They tore the beard from His face? They mocked and beat Him.


Jesus was beaten to within an inch of His life. The Bible says His back was like a plowed field. The Romans had refined cruelty and pain to the point of science. They called such a whipping the halfway death, and for a whip they used a cat of nine tails, with stone, bone and bits of metal embedded into the leather. When they struck the sharp objects would embed into His back, tearing it to pieces as they were pulled away.


Unbelievable pain, that He could have stopped at any moment… but He chose no to.


Why? Because He loves you!


Then He was taken away for the death sentence to be carried out. He was ordered to carry the crossbeam of the cross, a terrible burden after being so abused. Some of you here have been abused, and many of you here are carrying burdens that seems to heavy to bear.


Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV Strong’s)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


Jesus will bear the burdens of life with you, because He know and understands whatever you face right now, and Because He loves you!




And so He was abused and driven to Golgotha, Skull Hill… and they crucified Him.


The cross wasn’t really on a hill faraway, it was the base of that hill, at a well used road which today is an Arab bus stop.


They laid the cross member down and secured it to the rest of the cross. They then held out His quivering hands and drove massive nails, much like what they secure railway sleepers with, through His wrist. If they went through His hands the flesh would tear, but through His wrists and ankles the body would be pinned in agony to the cross. They they raised it up and dropped it into the socket in the ground. Imagine the jarring pain!


And there He hung in agony. He could have called down a legion of angels to remove Him from the cross, but Jesus chose not to. He hung there in agony.


Why? Because He loves you!


The cross wasn’t high at all, it was more or less at eye level or just above. People could almost look straight into the eyes of Jesus as He hung there in agony. People passing by mocked and insulted Him…


Matthew 27:42

“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.


The soldiers offered Him wine mixed with gall, a pain killing drug, but Jesus even in intense agony refused the drugs. He could have dulled the pain, but He bore it all for us.


The cross was an almost perfect instrument of torture. On the cross you die of suffocation. Jesus pushed His body up on the spikes, but the unbelievable pain drove Him into unconsciousness. He then slumped collapsing His lungs, but the need for oxygen revived Him and made Him push up again despite the unbearable pain to breathe.


The Latin or Roman word for crucifixion is CRUCIERE, from which we get the English word, excruciating, meaning intense, unbearable pain. Jesus suffered for 3 hours in this excruciating pain under the intense heat of a Palestinian sun before God said enough, and covered the world in a supernatural darkness.


Jesus continued to suffer for another 3 hours in ways we cannot begin to understand. He could have stopped the pain at any point, but He chose not to.


Why? Because He loves you!




After 6 tortuous, agonising hours,

Matthew 27:46

Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”


My God the Father, my God the Holy Spirit, why have you forsaken me?


At that point God turned away from His beloved Son. In those moments a holy God, who will not look upon sin, saw your sin and my sin upon the shoulders of Jesus, and He rejected Him. At that moment Jesus took our sin upon Himself, and as the Father rejected Him, Jesus opened the way for us to stand sinless before Him.


Then it says this…

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.


He slumped, dead on that cross. Ultimately they didn’t take His life, He yielded it. He could have stopped it at any time, but Jesus yielded His life in unbelievable pain for your sin and my sin. Remember, nails did not hold Him to that cross, love did!


Because He loves us.


They took His body down from the cross and buried it in a fresh tomb.




There were 3 soldiers crucifying Jesus that day, and they had several responses to watching Jesus die.


One was a materialist. The Bible says they gambled for Jesus’ cloak. It was a rabbis coat, all one piece, the only seams being around the arms. It was valuable. This soldier just got what he wanted for himself… a good coat, nothing more.


The second was a soldier who thrust his sword into the heart of Jesus, and ripped it out, causing a flow of blood and water, showing Jesus was truly dead. His experience was one of hatred and anger towards Jesus. Some of you here might be angry that God hasn’t done what you wanted. This man trampled the blood, the precious blood of Jesus underfoot.


Today across out nation, most of our people will be thinking about a day off, about hot cross buns and Easter eggs , and they will tread with contempt the precious blood of Jesus into the red soil.


But the third man was a centurion. A leader…


Mark 15:39

And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”




What are you going to say this morning to this One who died for you? Are you out to get as much as you can from Him? Are you angry or upset at Him, or even ignoring Him? Don’t tread His precious blood underfoot this morning. Why not be like the centurion, why not accept the gift Jesus offers you this day… the Son of God, who died for you your sin, and who paid the price to win you eternal life, this day offers you salvation, no matter what you’ve said or done. The opportunity to get right with God, the opportunity to turn your life around, the opportunity to be sure of your eternal destination.


When you look at the cross, my question is, how will you respond this Good Friday? Remember, love held Him to the cross, not nails. Love for you held Him there. Today is the day to get right with Him, and make this Good Friday the best Friday ever.


If you’re not sure of where your life is going, today is the day to make sure. If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity, in heaven with God, or in hell, separated from God’s love forever. You don’t have to earn His love, you don’t have to meet minimum standards, you just have to accept His free gift, the one He paid so high a price for.


And if you already know Him, I want you to think about your life, think about what your greatest burden is right now. What’s your greatest need, your greatest struggle or your greatest ongoing sin. Write it down, we are going to pray, give it totally to Jesus.


After we’ve prayed, I’m going to give you the chance to come forward and nail it to the cross.


Stay in an attitude of prayer, and when you nail that sin or burden to the cross, let it forever…

Abide in Christ

Learning to abide in Christ is an essential but not an easy thing. Last week I talked about the New Horizons we face as a church, so today I want to drill down into that and look at how we as individuals can make a difference in this world this year, and see true fruit that lasts in our ministries, church and lives.


As I started my Bible Reading Plan last week, I read Psalm 1, and it refers to the man blessed like this:

Psalms 1:3 (ESV Strong’s)

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.


Wouldn’t you love to see that as a description out your own life, and this church? So how can we prosper in everything we do, and yield huge amounts of high quality fruit that lasts?


John 15:1-10 (ESV Strong’s)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.




The word translated abide in John 15 is the Greek word menō which means to stay, endure or remain in a given place, state, relation or expectancy. It means to wait and remain attached to the vine. So what was Jesus saying?


The image of a vine was often used for the nation of Israel, but in this case, Jesus clearly identifies Himself as the true vine, and us, you and I, His church as the branches. To summarise the chapter, Jesus is saying stay attached to Him, don’t separate and go it alone, and that you either bear fruit, or get prune off and destroyed. Does this mean I grow apples out of my ears?


Jesus was talking about living a fruitful life, but what does He mean by fruitful?


Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV Strong’s)

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.


Living a fruitful and prosperous life is about producing those qualities, what we might call positive, active attitudes on a daily basis in our lives. And Ignite Church’s fruitfulness is the sum of all of us producing said fruit in our lives personally.


John Maxwell in his book, “Be All You Can Be,” suggests that when we abide 5 PRs appear…


  1. POSITIVE RESULTS: When you begin to inject these fruitful attitudes into your society, you’re going to see constructive, tangible and positive results.


  1. POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS: You will begin to develop fruitful relationships with others, and people will love being around you.


  1. POSITIVE REACTIONS: When your attitude is positive, even if things go badly or someone unjustly attacks you, your reaction is going to be positive, and before you know it, other’s reactions to you will be positive also.


  1. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT: Life is like a mirror; what you show is what you see; what you put in is what you get out. When you encourage others, you’ll find that they will encourage you. Attitudes are contagious.


  1. POSITIVE REJOICING: Jesus said in John 15:11. “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”




Christians often tell me they’re not really happy; they say they’re unfulfilled. They talk about not having joy in their lives. I get the impression that seeking joy has become their main purpose in life. But here’s the thing… joy (or happiness or fulfilment) comes to us not when we seek it, but when we put the right principles into practice in our lives. Joy and happiness and not ends in themselves, they are by-product of doing what is right, of abiding in Him and seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness!


So how do we as the branches know we can be fruitful, and sustain our fruitfulness? Here’s 7 things about the vine…




We need to realise that our potential for fruitful living is unlimited because of our power source. Jesus says in John 15:1 that He is the power source, He is the vine.


Galatians 2:20 (ESV Strong’s)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


Many of us try to live a good life, but we have it all wrong, because we cannot do this in our own strength. It’s not my resources, but Christ’s resources in and through me!


I remember on one rare occasion I vacuumed the house, that I stretched the cord and then found my appliance died. I thought, “Oh great, now the vacuum is dead,” but then I realised that it works better if plugged in, and I had accidentally unplugged it. My vacuum became a broom because it was disconnected. Unplug from the power source, and you cannot produce the fruit you want to produce in your own strength.




In John 15:1, Jesus says that He is the vine, but God the Father is the vinedresser. But God is more than an employee, He is the actual owner of the vineyard.


Ever heard the term, “Skin in the game?” It means you have ownership, and suddenly when you own it, the results become very important, because you’re invested! No one washes or services a rental car before they return it, but if you own a car, especially if you’re a rev head and cars are important to you, you service and clean it regularly.


Some Christians fear connecting to God  because think that if they abide in the vine then God will make them endure pain, adversity and strife instead of joy. They forget that God says,


Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong’s)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.


Ownership makes a difference. God owns us, so when he looks at our lives, he looks at them not as a casual observer but as an investor, and He is invested in us prospering and producing quality fruit!




Our potential for fruitful living is unlimited because Jesus is our source. The fact that God is our owner or proprietor adds to that potential. One of the things God does as skilful and knowledgeable vinedresser is to prune or purge us. He knows that pruning, while it might be painful at the time, greatly increases our potential for fruitful living.


John 15:2 (ESV Strong’s)

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.


The Greek word for prune is kathairō;  meaning to cleanse, to prune; to purge of filth impurity, or to prune trees and vines from useless shoots. Your Father as the vinedresser, removes everything that hinders your usefulness. He knows that if he doesn’t cut back the deadwood, all of our resources will go toward producing more wood and we won’t be fruit producers.


I have found that fruitful, productive people are continually being pruned, going through whatever God the experts sees fit to make them more fruitful.


And God knows exactly what to prune from our lives. He might even now be placing His finger on a persistent sin in your life, or a destructive relationship that always stops you being fruitful. It might be a dependency, it might be a comfort zone, but whatever it is, let Him prune it away, however painful, because that is how God produces fruit and that is the end game!




Our potential for fruitfulness is also tremendous because of our partnership. We do not sit idly by watching the fruit appear, we are an active part of it and we too need to be fully invested!


I am a terrible gardner, and I stand in awe of people like Betty who seem to have a green thumb. I’m not a bad gardener because I lack intelligence, and with google and garden centres, none of us really lack the knowledge. I’m terrible because I just don’t care! I stick something in the ground, and it’s Gods problem from there.


A pastor one time looked at a beautiful garden and commented to the gardner how awesome God was creating all that. The gardener replied that he had a part in it too, and you should have seen the mess when God had it to Himself!


John 15:4 (ESV Strong’s)

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.


Ten times in verses 4–10 we see the word abide. Basically Jesus is saying, “Connect with the vine, and everything will be fine.” It is our privilege to partner with God in bearing fruit.


This should affect how we see everything. The growth in this church… it’s all His, not mine or yours. Your family, your job, your home, your finances, you must realise that it’s not all about you, it’s your willingness to partner with Him that bears the fruit. Don’t take all the credit!


John Maxwell tells the story of the mouse who crossed a bridge over a deep ravine with an elephant.  As the elephant and the mouse crossed the bridge, the bridge shook.  When they reached the other side, the mouse said to the elephant, “Boy, we really shook that bridge, didn’t we?”  Of course a mouse can’t shake a bridge, but when it teams up with an elephant, yes it can.





John 15:7 (ESV Strong’s)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.


Notice two things, first that the promise is conditional: if we abide in him. Second, our asking needs to be according to his Word.


What Jesus is really saying is that if we abide in him, then our delight will be in him, so much so that we will ask all things according to his will. This verse is not, as some will tell you, a formula for getting what we want from God. I’m so sick of hearing people trying to manipulate God into doing their will instead of them abiding in Him and doing His will!


God is not your celestial Santa Clause. He does not have to bring you what you want, and all your prayers, good behaviour or manipulation does not make Him your servant!


Psalms 37:4 (ESV Strong’s)

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.


I get up every morning and have a quiet time. I spend the first hour or so with the Lord almost every day, and I do this because I want to abide in Him! I am reading through the Bible plan. I cannot tell you how many times something I read in my quiet time comes out in my day somewhere. I just delight in God and His Word every morning, and He leads and guides me through the day, and my desires merge with His!




John 15:8 (ESV Strong’s)

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.


Our purpose in life is not to pursue happiness but to bear fruit and thus bring God glory. In the same chapter Jesus says,


John 15:16 (ESV Strong’s)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.


We must not be floundering around trying to be rich or famous, or just trying to survive the day and get through life. No, we have been chosen, appointed by God, for fruitful living. Those active, positive attitudes, like love, joy, peace, etc, ought to be becoming a part of our lives. Then others notice and want them too!  The problem so often with us Christians is that we do not show these positive attitudes that can make us salt and light in our world. Christians should be like tea bags… our true colour comes out in hot water. We don’t bear the fruit God wants us to, because we are missing our purpose!


Billy Sunday said, “More men fail through lack of purpose than lack of talent.”




No Christian becomes fruitful without obedience. Our potential for fruitfulness is tremendous only when we prioritise obedience.


John 15:5-7 (ESV Strong’s)

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.


Clearly God is pretty serious about obedience, and that little word “if” is disturbing. Jesus doesn’t say, “If I do not abide in you.” He’s promised He is there for us. His question is, “Are you going to be connected to me? Jesus has the power; He has the strength; He has the wisdom to implant in us; He has all the resources that we need to become fruitful, and he’s ready to deliver. All we need to do is to stay connected him. It takes effort, and it takes obedience!



Why don’t we always abide in Him? Why do we disconnect? Pure lack of obedience!


We think that we can do it on our own; we begin to have an unhealthy self-confidence instead of confidence in Christ.  When we do not have active, positive, fruitful attitudes, it is because we aren’t plugged into the vine. Christians should not have to psych themselves up every day or get inspired once a week at church, we should stay connected every day and develop active, positive, fruitful attitudes… every single day!


If we prioritise obedience, becoming fruitful will be as natural as breathing because  the relationship is right, and the connection is right.


Why should God lead you into a full productive life if you refuse to obey Him? If you think you can achieve everything God wants for you in your own strength, go ahead, knock yourself out! You will quickly understand that, if you are disconnected from the vine that is Christ, if you are not obedient in spending time with Him, spending time with His people and obeying Him, then you are destined for disaster. And even if you achieve success, you will discover the prize worthless ultimately!


Listen I know that connectivity costs, but we must not focus on the cost, but focus on the fruit, the destiny God has for you. Nothing is achieved by anyone without cost.




Jesus gives us a three-word formula for fruitfulness in John 15. These three words are the ones I want you to remember, because they are the key to fruitful living.


  1. REMAIN: The first word is remain.


John 15:4-5 (ESV Strong’s)

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.


Throughout John 15, Jesus tells us to remain. “Remain in Me,” Jesus says.


What is Jesus referring to? He’s talking about our willingness to take time with him in prayer and in study of the Word. We need to let Him begin to be part of our lives and work on our lives. If you really want to live a fruitful life, there is no short cut. Come, join us in the Bible Reading Plan, start it and determine in your heart to not stop, even if you get discouraged. I promise you, no, God promises you that your life will never be the same if you read His Word and pray daily.


  1. RECEIVE: The second word in the formula is receive.


Jesus says in John 15 that if we remain in him, we will begin to receive certain things. What we’ll receive is good, fruitful and yes, prosperous living.


Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV Strong’s)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.


When you seek Him, when you remain or abide in Him, then you prosper, and not just financially, but in every way right through your life, relationships, destiny and everything!


  1. REPRODUCE: The third word is reproduce.


If we remain in him, we’re going to receive what he has for us; then and only then will we begin to reproduce such fruit in our lives. When we obey and remain in Him, others will see the difference and want what we have. We begin to reproduce fruit in the lives of others, and Ignite Church is the sum of all of our fruitfulness. We can and will grow and produce fruit in the lives of our community if we all learn to abide in Him.


THE 30, 60, 100 FOLD FOLLOW UP


I often hear Christians asking God for fruitfulness, and claiming the promise Jesus talks about in the parable of the sower…


Matthew 13:23 (ESV Strong’s)

As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”


God sows His Word into our hearts, that is what the parable is about, and He wants to see fruit. So if you want to make a difference in this world, if you want to see spiritual fruit which lasts for eternity, long after your job, your business, your success and everything else, then here’s what you must do…




Step out in faith, try something different, something scary. Climb out on the limb; that’s where the fruit is. All great accomplishments have to begin with an initial decision, so join me now and make up your mind that you’re going to be a fruitful Christian, that you’re going to begin to reproduce for Christ.




Last week I challenged you to commit, with me, to Reading our Bible Reading Plan every day. Today I repeat that challenge… if you want to truly start abiding in Him, the first, tangible step is to commit to spending time with Him. So join us in our Reading Plan, if you don’t already have one?


What you plant determines the fruit, so plant the right thing. Plant Gods Word into your heart, starting right now, and let’s commit together to growing fruit here at Ignite, in our homes, in our businesses, in our relationships and in our eternities.


John 15:8 (ESV Strong’s)

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.


What promise are you asking God for this year? What fruit are you seeking to bear, and what are you planting?

Today is Mother’s Day and is I would like to study and celebrate the phenomenon of a mother’s faith.



Now we know that a mother’s faith is born out of a mother’s love, and I know in my case my mother’s love is to a large part the reason I stand before you today.


Many a night as a teenager I went out and my mum’s prayers protected and sustained me. She prayed and protected me from my own stupid decisions and actions. And the grace of God got me out of some difficult situations. I’m sure most of you can relate to something like that.


But your mum may not be a Christian, and your upbringing may not have been part of your salvation experience. I mean, you may not even like your mum. You might have wished you were born into slavery rather than your family, but mums, today is the day we want to make it right for your kids!


We know what love is, or at least we think we do, but how many of us know that a mother’s love for her children is something very special. But when we discuss love, English is a poor way to do it.


Think about it… I love my wife, I love the Broncos. I love my mum, I love Vegemite! Love in English is so universal and misused isn’t it? I mean, we talk about “making love” when often the two parties don’t love each other at all and they are using and abusing each other for sex. That’s not love, folks! In the movies or in real life.


So to understand a mother’s love, let’s have a look at the 4 Greek words for love…




1.      STORGE

Not used in the Bible, it refers to love, empathy or affection for something, mainly family members. “I don’t like him, but I guess I have to love him!” The same word is used in loving your country or a sporting team. Or Vegemite.


2.      EROS

This is sexual love, from which we get the term erotic. Plato suggested that it also applies to attraction without the expression of sex, leading to the term platonic to refer to non sexual relationships.


3.      PHILIA

Affectionate regard or intimate friendship is referred to as philia, and it denotes loyalty, friendship and brotherly love. I’m guessing this approximates our concept of mateship.


4.      AGAPE

This is the highest form of love or charity, the type God has for man, and embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends and serves unconditionally regardless of circumstances. It is not affected by whether it is returned or not, it is unconditional love. Usually this is reserved for God’s love for us, but not always.


John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


Interestingly, though storge fits for family love, a mother’s love is often referred to, especially in great acts of exceptional motherly love and charity as agape. It’s  the unconditional, unassailable, undefeatable, love that is independent of anything you do, say or become, and true motherhood exudes this!


Great mums are fiercely protective of their kids. Most mums always see the good in their children, despite what everyone else thinks, and sometimes despite the facts. Sometimes a mother’s faith can be misplaced.


Mums want to believe in you, whether you believe in you or not. They see the good in their children, even if no one else does. Hitler’s mum Klara took him to church and wanted him to be a civil servant. Napoleon’s mum was married at 13 and accompanied him into exile on the island of Elba.  Osama Bin Laden’s mum wanted him to stop fighting the west and come home to Saudi like a good boy. Donald Trump described his mum as smart as hell and  he said he’s had trouble finding women to marry who compare to his her!


I read about Ted Bundy’s mother Louise, who loved her son so much that she refused to believe he was a killer, until a series of death row confessions of 36 murders put the matter beyond doubt. These mums saw the best in their children when others saw them as tyrants and killers.


Mums believe in us when others give up on us. Mums always want the best for their kids and grandkids, as I bet every mum in this room does. So let me look at a few positive instances of motherly love and motherly faith.


St Augustine’s mother was a godly woman who lived around 350AD. She loved her wayward son, and the young Augustine lived with a girl and had an illegitimate child, then followed this by joining a heretical sect for 9 long years. He refused to listen to her, and she was so distraught she prayed and prayed and God gave her a dream that settled her heart, and then a mother’s faith checked in.


A short time later Augustine came to Christ, and became one of the most significant church fathers of his generation! He was once lost, but then through a mother’s faith he was found.


That’s the great privilege of being a mother. A mother’s faith is stronger, your love is stronger and God loves the faith of a mother! And He bestows not only faith but wisdom…




My mother had a great deal if trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it… Mark Twain

My mother thinks I’m the best, and I was raised to always believe what my mama tells me… Diego Maradonna

Phyllis Dilla: I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford… then I want to move in with them!

Erma Bombeck: when your mother asks if you want a piece of advice, it’s a formality. Whatever you answer, you’re going to get it.

One mum said, My kids call it yelling when I raise my voice. I call it motivational speaking for selective listeners.

Another said, My nickname is mum. My real name is mum, mum, mum, mum!


Another quote I found which is what you have to put up with as a mum sometimes… Benjamin Spock: there are only 2 things a child will share willingly. Communicable diseases and their mother’s age.


So that’s mother’s wisdom, let’s zero in now on a mother’s faith.




Scripture has many examples of faithful mums, mums who made a difference in the lives of their children and even the world in which they lived. Moses’ mum is one example, placing him in the little basket in the bulrushes, then becoming his nanny when Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him. Rahab, whose faith saved her family. Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah even Deborah, who was described as the mother of Israel and led her troops to a great victory over Sisera.


But today I want to concentrate on one situation, recorded in Matthew 15, where the faith of a Canaanite woman saved and set her daughter free from demonic oppression. A mother’s faith was tested and commended by Jesus.


The background to this passage is that Jews hated gentiles, and actually called them dogs! If you think right back to Joshua and Judges, these were the remnant of the evil nations that the conquering Israelites failed to dislodge. Jews considered them lower than a wombat’s basement.


Matthew 15:21-28

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.


Mums, on this your special day, I want to speak directly to you and ask you about your children, your husband, your family and those you care about. We see in this story that the woman had plenty of obstacles, but she stood in the gap for her child. As I share around this passage, take a moment to think about someone you know in your family that isn’t walking with the Lord… and let your mother’s faith rise!




The Canaanite woman knew the social stigmas. I mean, she knew everything was against her…


Certainly her race was against her: She was a Gentile. Her sex was against her, because most Jewish rabbis paid little attention to women. It seemed that the disciples were against her, and even Christ’s words might have led her to believe that even He was against her.

She could have stopped, she could have given up even before she started… oh, it’s all too hard!


But hey, it was her daughter we’re talking about here. She decided not to give up on her child, and should you! A mother’s faith never gives up!


And sometimes we look at people we love who are not walking with the Lord and it all seems too hard! They’re doing things we don’t approve of, they’re making bad decisions, they’re breaking our hearts. They might even been attacking us or pulling away from us!


Listen mums, this mum took a chance, and I want to encourage you to do the same. Sure, our wayward kids may seem distant from you now, they may be ignoring your advice or rebelling, but the faith of a mother is worth much! This mother’s faith won the day, so you need to take a chance and trust God!




This mother’s faith drove her to ask the question. They may accuse you of being pushy or overbearing, but sometimes asking a simple question can make people think.

Sometimes even just a look will suffice. I remember being caught doing things as a kid, and mum didn’t even have to say anything, she’d just look, and I’d know she knew. Mums do that!

Trust me, guys, you can’t fool mum. Mother’s know, they have wider fields of view and eyes in the back of their heads. They see everything l hear everything and read between the lines well. And trust me. I’m married to a mother who is a psychotherapist, sometimes more psycho that’s therapist.


So this Canaanite mum asked the question…

Matthew 15:22

And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”


Speaking to Jesus, she addressed Him as the Lord, the Son of David, a title which only the Jews used in speaking of the Messiah. Although Jesus was the Son of David, a Gentile had no right to approach Him on that basis. That is why He did not answer her at first.

So she had no right to approach, but she did it anyway. And that’s the thing: a mother’s faith will push through and ask the question, so mums, step up and ask for your wayward children… you’ll be surprised at what God wants to do for you!




Listen ladies, if you step out and ask God, expect opposition. You might get it from your kids, you might get it from their dad, their partner, their friends, somebody. You will find your own feelings being attacked, periods when you even doubt that God hears you. It might even come from people in the church who don’t believe with you. And just like this mum faced…

Matthew 15:23-24

But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”


The disciples didn’t want her around, and she may have even thought Jesus wanted her gone. But she stayed!


When you face attack, react like this mother of faith did! He came and she said…

Matthew 15:25

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”


And mums, I encourage you to just get real and honest with the Lord this morning. Today is Mother’s Day, and I sense the heart of God for faithful mums right now. So get real, get honest and say with all your heart, “Lord help me.” I believe that the prayer of a mother’s faithfulness for her kids and grandkids is going to be answered by God.




Jesus then decided to probe her faith.

Matthew 15:26

And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”


Now it might sound a bit nasty, but in context Jesus wasn’t having a shot at her at all. A little but of Hebrew comes in handy here…

You have to remember, she wasn’t a Jew, she was a gentile. The Jews looked upon the Gentiles as scavenging dogs, prowling the streets for scraps of food. However, Jesus here doesn’t use that particular word when He says dogs. Instead, He used the word for little pet puppies. He didn’t call her a rabid street dog or mangy mongrel, He called her a little puppy.


The question was, “Would she take offence or acknowledge her unworthiness to receive the least of His mercies?”


Mums, don’t take offence at anything that say and do, even your own kids. Love them, pray for them, believe for them and claim them for Jesus. I’d rather be offended and see my kids saved than silent and distant!




This mum’s  reply was not to crawl away and be insulted that Jesus tested her faith, but to press in and persist…

Matthew 15:27

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”


In these few words she was humbling herself for the sake of her daughter. She was persisting and believing because she loved her child and wanted to see her set free.


She said, in effect, “You are right! I am only one of the little puppies under the table. But I notice that crumbs sometimes fall from the table to the floor. Won’t You let me have some crumbs? I am not worthy that You should heal my daughter, but I beg You to do it for one of Your undeserving creatures.”


Some of you mums here have prayed for years for your kids, and seen little result. Sometimes it seems so discouraging because they never seem to change, even into adulthood. Maybe they’re lost in a bad relationship or substance abuse, maybe they are good people but they’ve crowded God out of their lives and have no time for Him.


Your see, you can be a really good person, a super nice guy, but when you die you’ll miss going to eternity in heaven and be the nicest guy in hell. How nice you are, how good you are, how generous to charities or your kids you doesn’t get you to heaven. The Bible is clear…


Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.


Christian mums here today, you know that, and for many of you this truth leads you to pray for your wayward kids, whether they are successful corporate CEOs or cellar dwelling drug addicts. I want to urge you today to keep praying, to do like this lady did and never give up on your kids, grandkids and even husbands or exes. I can’t change them, you can’t change them, but God can. You must persist!




And here’s the thing. Jesus was so delighted with her persisting, He commended her!

Matthew 15:28

Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.


Jesus commended her for her great faith. While the unbelieving children, the Jews, had no hunger for the bread, here was a self-confessed “doggie” crying out for it. A mother’s faith was rewarded; her daughter was healed instantly. Interestingly Jesus never complimented the religious leaders or the disciples like this, only a gentile, despised woman.


And that, mums, is my challenge to you today. Whatever you are believing for with your family, partners, children or grandchildren, I believe that today is the day when you can stand and believe, and we want to stand with you.

In a moment, I’m going to ask all the mums to stand and come forward and let us pray for your wayward children, grandchildren or even husbands. Let’s join together and believe for God to reward your mother’s faith today!




The Spice girls said it, but I’m saying it today. So tell me what you want, what you really, really want! Today some of you got breakfast in bed, and many of you got presents, cute things, special things, things that are great but will never last. But I know the heart cry of many of you mums is the salvation of your children and grandchildren. That will last forever.


You may have been fighting for them in prayer for years, but I’m going to ask you to stand for them, and let us as a church fight together! If you as a mum have a child or grandchild on your heart and you are praying specifically for their salvation, I’m going to ask you to stand, come to the front and our elders will pray and believe with you for the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all… your child coming to Christ.

Easter Sunday-Hope is Alive!

Welcome to resurrection Sunday, where hope is alive. On Friday we remembered the sacrifice of Christ dying on the Cross for us, but today we celebrate the joy of His rising again, and now hope is alive in the hearts of believers.  After church 3 people are going to share their baptism with us, and they will illustrate this very time of year. They will go under the water dying with Christ, then come up again to rise with Him.

So let’s start our celebrations looking back at Good Friday. On Friday we talked about Christ’s pain, suffering and sacrifice for us. But what I want you to do now is to put yourself in the place of the disciples that terrible Friday.


They’d seen it with their own eyes, the death of the One they love. They heard Him cry out, they’d seen the spear thrust into His side, they saw blood and water pour out . They knew He was dead, that He’d been placed in a tomb, wrapped in cloth with spices. They’d surely seen the massive rock rolled across the entrance. They probably were aware of the guard on the tomb.




On that dark day hope died. All the dreams of the disciples, all the plans, all the good times had come to nothing. Jesus had healed people, He’d challenged hearts, He’d spoken of eternal life, of His Kingdom to come. He’d fed 5,000, raised the dead, challenged the hierarchy… He’d promised big, but on that dark, miserable Friday He’d died, just like any man might. The centurion said truly this man was the Son if God, but all the disciples saw was a dead body.


Today here perhaps your hopes, like those of the disciples, have died. Your dreams of a successful business, your hopes of a loving, perfect partner in life, your hopes of a together family, your inner desires for ministry. Maybe today they lay shattered in the ground. Perhaps you lost that job, maybe your marriage broke down, maybe your family looks ok on the surface but behind closed doors it’s falling apart. Perhaps that child you love so much is breaking your heart.


Like those disciples so long ago, maybe you’ve lost hope. Like them, perhaps you feel like you’re standing on the boulevard of broken dreams, standing outside the tomb of everything you’ve hoped and believed for, burying the hopes you once had. The disciples were there, they saw everything crumble right before their eyes, and despair won the day.


That Friday Jesus laid His life down for your sin, but thanks be to God He didn’t stay there.



Hope is alive because the tomb is empty! Today hope lives because Jesus lives!

Buddha is buried somewhere in a tomb. Mohammad , Confucius, they’re buried somewhere, but Jesus is not. 3 days later, Jesus exploded out of the tomb. He’s alive, and everything He promised those disciples, and everything He promises you, is alive as well.



Matthew 28:5-6

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”

Hope is a word that we like to kind of throw around. I hope this works, I hope you feel better, I hope for this or that, I hope tomorrow will be better.  The true essence of the word gets cheapened sometimes. Webster’s defines hope as: to cherish a desire with anticipation of obtainment. To the world, hope is to long for something, it’s to anticipate something that you want with all of your heart to be fulfilled. But to the world, hope is often dashed!

Someone has been quoted as saying: We can live forty days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.

Turn on the news, and hope disappears with every terrorist bomb, every financial forecast, every loss, scandal or controversy. The world’s version of hope is based in what’s happening around you, what you want, what you can get, your desires, your needs. It is based in things that do not and cannot ultimately satisfy. But God’s hope is completely different. You can trust it because Biblical hope is alive and well!

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.


Biblical hope depends not on events, and not on how much faith you can muster. Biblical hope depends on God’s faithfulness, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ celebrates exactly that! Biblical hope can be defined as this: a sure expectation based on the promises of God. This hope is different! This hope is eternal and won’t fail us. Hebrews says that:

Hebrews 6: 19

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

The hope that God offers is something to build on, it’s an anchor, it keeps us from drifting after this and floating after that.  It is the rock upon which the Christian stands, one that cannot be moved or shaken. This is the hope of God, and this magnificent hope is alive, forever bound up in the resurrection of Christ that we celebrate today.

When the Bible talks about hope, it is not a maybe, it is a surety.  Hope is alive for the Christian, and that’s an absolute fact, it is something we can live for, even something we can die for!

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.



In the midst of their darkest moment in life, the disciples were told by Mary and the women that Jesus was alive, but they couldn’t believe He had risen. That’s what lack of hope does, it steals from you the belief that somehow, someway your dreams might come true!

That’s what the devil wants … he wants to bleed your faith dry, and some of you have experienced that. He wants to suck hope out of you so you can’t see any way forward. Satan is a hope vampire, a hope vortex, and he wants to suck the hope right out of you. That’s what the devil tried to do with Job, and some of you here can relate to feeling like Job at times..

Job 17:11,15

My days are past; my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart. Where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?

Do you feel like that today? Has despair sucked your hope from you? Listen, you’re in good company, with Job, David, Joshua, the disciples, Paul and many others sharing the same experience. Without the resurrection, all of us would be without hope. But with it hope springs eternal!

If you feel like your hope is gone today, if you’re walking through the valley of the shadow or death, keep walking. Don’t camp there, and don’t give the devil a foothold. Today, Easter Sunday 2017, is the the day when your hope is alive again, resurrected, if you are willing!


Sometimes hope us hidden. God doesn’t take the route we expect Him to take. The disciples learned that. Their hopes, their dreams seemingly crushed, yet in God’s economy, a setback is a setup for a comeback. Sometimes hope is hidden, but just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there!

God’s great gift of hope took a cross, the very symbol of death and despair and a tomb, the epitome of hopelessness and turned them forever into symbols of life and hope for the believer, that whoever believes in what was accomplished upon that cross and believes in who it was that walked out of that tomb would be saved.

That’s the hope we have. As Peter writes:

1 Peter 1:3

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Today we celebrate the fact that Jesus is risen. And risen with Him is our hope, the true hope, the surety of eternal life, starting the moment we ask Jesus into our life, the hope of living in victory, the hope of restored families, the hope of healings and miracles and fellowship and ministry.

So if you feel lacking in hope today, if your faith is struggling or weakened, look to the empty tomb and see hope resurrected with Christ. For some of us, we need to stop trying to generate faith, and for some we must stop trying to make it happen and do God’s job for Him. Look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, because He is alive and hope is alive with Him!

If your hope is truly in Christ this day, let Him live His life through you.


Godly hope is alive and has 2 aspects… hope for now, and hope forever!

Whatever you face in life right now, whatever fear, whatever drama, whatever pain, sickness, tiredness, conflict or pressure, because Jesus rose again and because He lives you can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives!

Because Jesus is alive, hope is alive, and we now have absolute hope to live each day in the power of His Spirit.

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.


Titus 2:13

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Jesus Christ,

Because He is alive, we know He will soon return. And He’s not coming back as a baby this time, but He will return for those who believe Him in triumph and in majesty and in power. We know from His resurrection that we have a hope not only for His return, but also for life abundantly, eternal life with Him in heaven. That’s His promise…

1 Corinthians 15:17-20

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

He said if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and your hope is dead! But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. This day we remember the Jesus is alive, and we will live forever with Him.




So how can you discover true hope today, whatever situation you face?




Unless you believe in Christ, unless you ask Him into your life as Lord and Saviour, His power to live a victorious life remains unavailable to you. If you are overwhelmed by your troubles, if you are perpetually down or depressed, don’t stay there. Believe in Jesus, believe in what He achieved for you in dying on the cross to bring you back to God, and most of all believe in the resurrection. He can save you today, and it’s a free gift, if only you accept Him.


John 20:31

but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


If you feel hopeless, if you’re living without hope, ask the God of all hope to fill you with His Spirit right now!




You cannot live in hope and live in power if you are disconnected from the Lord. He has a plan and a hope for your future, but you need to stay close to Him and be obedient. If you wander off and do your own thing, not only do you miss God’s best for you, but you stumble away from hope. Take time to pray regularly, set time aside to read and study His Word, and do it every day.


John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.


If you want true Biblical hope in your life, plug into God today. Let resurrection Sunday be the day your hope is renewed… hope is alive.




Most Christians say they believe, but most often never pause to listen to what the Lord wants. Like Joshua at Ai, we think, based on previous experience, that we can just go ahead and blunder in and expect His blessing.





God lays out promises in His Word, and as we listen to Him and apply those promises they come to pass with the hope and power of the resurrected Christ.


2 Corinthians 1:20

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.


All God’s promises, Old Testament and New, hinge upon the power of the resurrection of Christ. In Him they are yes and amen, in Jesus you can have true hope for the future. The whole of history and all the promises of God revolve around the sacrifice of Good Friday and the resurrection power of Easter Sunday




There are so many Christians these days who are not part of a church. They’ve been hurt, disappointed or bored out of their brains in church. For many, their hope struggles because they are trying to stand alone. Hope is alive, but only just


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!


The Bible commands us to not give up meeting together. So find a church to be a part of, here or anywhere. Ephesians talks about the shield of faith. But what many don’t understand is how the Romans used their shields. They didn’t try and fight alone, but joined their shields together to withstand the attacks of the enemy.


Your faith, your belief, your hope is strengthened when you join it together with other believers. So if you want to see true hope in your life, join together with like minded believers and start believing for miracles in your life!






Resurrection power means we no longer have to live defeated lives. In the power of God, when we are controlled by His Spirit, we can face any foe without fear. Governments, terrorists, mortgages, people attacking us, anything life can throw at us we can face without fear, including the biggest fear we all have… the fear of death.


Death for the Christian is not a full stop, it’s only a comma. As I watched my Dad die a few years ago, I sat by His bed for days as he lay dying, and I saw this hope in His heart. Christ’s rising from the dead gives us an unassailable hope for the future, forever and ever.


Romans 6:8-11

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.


You may not believe that there’s a life after death, you may not believe that there’s a heaven or hell, but trust me, 10 seconds after you die you’ll find out, as will I. If I’m right, I get the share eternity with God in His heaven, and you get to spend eternity separated from Him in hell. If you’re right, and there is nothing after death, then I’ve been blessed to have had a great life, full of hope, full of joy, full of blessings and satisfaction that you’ll never know. And you will have existed, nothing more!


Steve McQueen accepted Christ and asked to meet Billy Graham. He was heading to Mexico for filming, and shared a short ride to the airport with Billy Graham. He was fighting cancer at the time, and asked Dr Graham how he could be assured of eternal life. Billy Graham underlined


Titus 1:2

in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began


And gave his Bible to Steve McQueen.


The actor passed away a few weeks later. His body was flown back to LA, and he was buried at his request with Billy Graham’s Bible open on his chest, and his finger pointing to this verse…


Titus 1:2

in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.


Easter Sunday is not about rabbits, Or chocolate eggs. Today, resurrection Sunday is about hope. Hope restored, hope to face anything, hope that fills us, hope that is alive just as Jesus is alive today!


The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not just a historical event, and it’s certainly not a fairy story. It was the resurrection of hope for those disciples, who moved from despair to abundant joy, and from fear to incredible courage. Of the 11 disciples who witness the death and resurrection of Jesus, the 11 who cowered in fear in an upper room, they were so inspired, they were so filled with hope that 10 of them died martyrs deaths for what they believed.


The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the resurrection of hope, the hope that will never fail. It’s the rock on which we stand, it’s the power by which we live, it’s the hope we have for all eternity. This hope is here today for you, if you want it!


Colossians 1:27

Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The Good Shepherd is Calling You

The Good Shepherd is calling you… Do you know Him?

Two men were called on, in a large classroom, to recite the Twenty-third Psalm. One was a professional actor,  trained in speech technique and drama. He repeated the psalm in a powerful way.


Psalms 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

When he finished, the audience cheered and even asked for an encore that they might hear his wonderful voice again. “Then the other man, who was much older, repeated the same words–‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…’ But when he finished, no sound came from the large class. Instead, people sat silently in a deep mood of devotion and prayer.


“Then the first man, the orator, stood to his feet. He said. ‘The difference between what you have just heard from my old friend, and what you heard from me is this: I know the Psalm, my friend knows the Shepherd.'”

You probably know the Psalm… But do you really know the Shepherd?


This morning I want to look at Jesus the Good Shepherd…


John 10:2-6

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.


Throughout the Bible leaders were frequently described as Shepherds. Kings, prophets and holy men were considered shepherds. In Ezekiel 34, the Lord condemns selfish shepherds who exploited the flock for their own ends, who abuse and mistreat them and who scattered them leaving them open to attack. He says He will remove them, and replace the, with Good shepherd, who will lead with integrity and honour, caring for  the sheep, laying his life down for them. David was the expression of this shepherd, pastors should also be that type of shepherd, and of course, the ultimate expression is Jesus, the Good Shepherd.


Ezekiel 34:31

You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”




1 Peter 2:25

For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.


Why would God call us sheep? I use to have sheep, so I can tell you how stupid they really are. No child pretending to be an animal ever chooses to be a sheep. Can you think of a sporting team mascot of a sheep?


Let’s face it, calling us sheep is not exactly romantic or complimentary is it? So why would God liken us to sheep? Think about what sheep really are…


  1. Stupid and stubborn-


I mean, have you ever seen a trained sheep at a circus? They are simple-hearted, not the brightest bulb in the box, and if you try and lead them anywhere, they stubbornly stop.


  1. Dirty and Wayward-


They easily wander away, do their own thing, get lost and never learn from their mistakes. The follow the crowd, like a sheepish mob mentality, and will blindly follow their leader, even if they are being led to certain death.


  1. Easily frightened and confused-


Easily led astray, known to panic and be irrational, known to plunge off cliffs in their fear and confusion. They stubbornly wait and resist, then panic and freak out.


  1. They are well known for clinging to habits, often walking the same track until it becomes a rut, or staying in the same paddock even when all food has disappeared.


  1. Desperately need guidance and protection.


They do not fend well for themselves. They don’t find good pastures, they don’t fight off predators.


Hang on, did I say sheep were stubborn, stupid, irrational, confused, wayward, fearful and in need of guidance and protection? Does that sound anything like human beings?


Ok maybe calling us sheep is not too far from the mark! We are all those things, and while the illustration may not be too complimentary, I think we can agree that we share many of the stubborn, foolish, pig headed traits of sheep.


So enough about the sheep, what about the shepherd? Let’s look at those chapters in John to learn more…




In ancient Israel, caring for sheep was a lot different compared with shepherding today. Back then, they did not have sheep dogs to round up sheep. They didn’t bark and scare the sheep and drive them. Back then, they called, and the sheep knew the voice of the shepherd and they came running.


So what is the Good Shepherd actually like?




John 10:1-3

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeepers opens.


In ancient Israel, they would often house the sheep in a natural pen.  So they might have a gully, for example, where they build a fence at one end, and then the shepherd would lie across the opening like a door to protect the sheep.


Jesus says that if someone is a bad guy, they will not try and get in via the shepherd but will try and sneak in, and when they do this they are bent on destruction.  The only way to get into the pen legitimately is through the gate guarded by the shepherd.


John 10:9

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.


John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


No great philosophy , no other religion, not being nice to people, or kind, or not sinning very much is enough. Only Jesus can save you. Only a relationship with the shepherd can lead to eternal salvation. You can’t earn it, you can’t fake it, you can’t get it pushing a plow… Matter of fact… You need to come to Jesus now!


So Pastor Darin, are you saying that Muslims, Buddhists, Charity leaders and nice people don’t get to heaven? YES! But I’m not saying it, Jesus said it, and that’s good enough for me.


If you’ve never asked Jesus into your life, today the Good Shepherd calls you to enter into the gate of eternal life!




Ancient shepherds were born into the job, which means they grew up with the sheep and knew them, with all of their little eccentricities and odd ways, intimately. The young shepherd trained for the position all his life, so it wasn’t just a job, it was a passion.


That’s why the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.


Obviously Jesus is the Good Shepherd, but there are other shepherds or leaders who should show the same dedication.


Bill Newman often talks to pastors and says, “Jesus Christ did not die on the cross to give you a job.”  So as your pastor, I need to model myself on the true Good Shepherd and work hard, love lots and lay my life down for you.


The Good Shepherd know his sheep. He knows them by name, He knows their faces, their habits, good and bad, their characters, their natures. And they know Him, and His voice…


John 10:3-5

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”


In ancient Israel, shepherds would often join several flocks together in the pen for the night. Have you ever joined a bunch of sheep together. We use to have a small flock, and they would just huddle together, shaking and non responsive! They are almost impossible to separate in any kind of ordered fashion!


All the Good Shepherd does is call. No matter what other sheep are there, they recognise His voice and He recognises them. Strangers they run from, the Good Shepherd they run to!


Do you know His voice. Are you reading His word every day?

“I can find ten men who will die for the Bible for every one who will read it!” –Charles Spurgeon


Can you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd? Will you run to Him this morning? This very morning the Good Shepherd is gently calling you. That still small voice in the heart, that word of a sermon or song, that Bible reading that leapt off the page at you… All these are the voice of the Shepherd.  And this morning He is saying His favourite word… Come!






John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


Life abundantly, that’s what the Good Shepherd promises, and He know exactly what you need each and every day!


Matthew 6:31-33

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


Why worry about the things of this life? Do you worry about the next dollar coming in? About what someone thinks of you? About paying bills, fighting for your rights or arguing with family members?


The Good Shepherd knows, He understands, He is listening and willing to care for you. He knows what you need, that’s why The psalmist says,


Psalms 23:1

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.


The Hebrew word for “not want” is HASER, which means I shall not be in need, I shall lack nothing or I shall not decrease. He know the needs, can you trust the Good Shepherd to care for you and provide for you?


We’ve seen it in this church in recent days. I cannot believe that the God who prospers us as a church family will let me or you down. We stand testimony to the love and care of the Good Shepherd!






Psalms 23:2-3

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.


The Good Shepherd is a leader, and He will lead you if you will let Him.


At times He leads you into battle, and He leads you to triumph. At other times He knows you’re tired and weary, in pain and in distress, and He leads you in these moments to lie down in green pastures. Green pastures are lush, they have abundant food, they are cool, they are soft. The Hebrew word used here means fresh shoots.


He also leads you beside the still waters… Waters of peace, of gentle not turbulent flow. Why gentle waters?


Did you know that sheep cannot drink from noisy, running water? A sheep’s nostrils are so close to its mouth that if it starts to drink and the water is moving, it will choke and could perhaps drown.


To provide for the sheep, it is necessary for the shepherd to dam the stream until a quiet pool is formed, and the moving water becomes still. Then the animal can put its muzzle into the water and drink without choking and gasping for air.


“He leads me beside the still waters.”


Some of you here need to find the still waters this morning. You love the Good Shepherd, you hear Him, you trust Him, but you need to find the peace that passes all understanding. You need this morning to sit a while at the still waters.





The Good Shepherd values every single one of you. In John 15, He leaves the 99 sheep to look for the one who has strayed. Is that you this morning? If you have strayed, if you have sinned, if you don’t know the Shepherd are have walked away, this morning the shepherd is calling your name. He’s out looking for you. Don’t run, don’t hide, come.



Psalms 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.


We all face valleys of darkness like this at times. When all seems hopeless, when everything seems lost, when everyone and everything seems to conspire against you. When you’re hurt, discouraged, let down, lonely, miserable, on the verge of giving up.


The Good Shepherd walks with you through these times.


The rod was an instrument of authority that was also used by shepherds for counting, guiding, rescuing and protecting sheep. The staff was an instrument of support.


The ancient shepherd also used his staff to guide the sheep, directing them and setting boundaries for them. He also used his rod as a weapon against predators. By guiding them into safe places and by fighting enemies, the shepherd’s rod and staff were a comfort and protection for the sheep.


Whatever you face in life right now, the Good Shepherd walks with you. He doesn’t transport you over or around the valley, He walks it’s you thought the darkest vales, protecting and comforting you, caring for you.


Do you need the Good Shepherds comfort and protection today?




John 10:11-13


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.


If I am to shepherd you, I must lay my life down and pay a price. The Good Shepherd laid His life down for you. He didn’t run. You’re His, so He fought for you, and died in your place.


Jesus chose to die in your place because He loves you. He is the Good Shepherd, and you are the ones He loves.  He hung on nails for 6 hours one Friday to pay for your sin and mine. He suffered unspeakable agony to purchase our souls back, that we might spend eternity with the Father.


He gave up the riches of Heaven to come to earth and die a criminal’s death. Nails did not hold Him to the tree… It was the love of the Good Shepherd. He laid His life down for you.






Psalms 23:6

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord



Yes, heaven awaits. Eternity with the Good Shepherd beckons us.


John 14:2-3

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.


Heaven awaits those of us who follow the Good Shepherd, but why wait? Why pray for pie in the sky when we die by and by when we can experience life to the full and a taste of heaven right now?


Today, the Shepherd calls you out. Today, He leads you in paths of righteousness. Today, He walks with you no matter how dark and terrifying the road you face. Today He protects and cares for your needs.  Today He prepares a table in the presence of your enemies. Today His arms are open to invite you to His eternal home.


Today, the Good Shepherd says come! Come to me you who are weary and burdened. Come to me those who hurt. Come to me those in need of encouragement. Come to me those who need a Saviour.

Adversity, as we have seen, comes to us all, and is part of God’s training and equipping in our lives. If you are struggling or facing tough times today, you are not unique and you are not on your own.


We have learned that the question is not whether you will face trials, because we all will, but rather how you will face them. Can you face them with joy, and can you trust your Heavenly Father to do the right thing by you?



If you want God’s best for your life and if you truly desire to be used by Him, at some point you will have to travel the road of adversity. All sunshine makes a desert, hard crusty and unproductive. Rain and storms are what produces lasting fruit in your life for Jesus.


This means that God can and will use adversity in your life for a good purpose—and yet, sadly, many people view adversity as only negative and defeating. You don’t have to be among them!


In the presence of trouble, some people grow wings; others buy crutches.—Harold W. Ruopp



Perception is how you see things, not just what you see. So when you face Adversity, do you just see the Adversity itself, the pain, the hurt, the hopelessness? Or do you see what God sees?… That He is using tough times to train and equip you for greater and more powerful service in times to come!


Romans 8:28


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


God has designed adversity, regardless of its source and irrespective of the pain and discomfort it causes, to become a turning point from which you will take your greatest leaps forward in spiritual growth. His aim is spiritual growth and maturity, and He is not afraid to break a few eggs to make a beautiful Omelet.


If you face trials right now, I want to offer you wonderfully encouraging news… They are not without restriction, but fully controlled by God.  He allows adversity into your life only as long as it takes until He accomplishes His purpose in you. He will not keep it in your life one second longer than is necessary.




In 1 Samuel 30 David, on the run from King Saul, faced a tough situation. Amalekite raiders had attacked his camp, carrying off all the wives and families of the men, including his. The men were not so merry and turned on David, so David turned in his adversity to the Lord…


1 Samuel 30:6

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.


If you look at Christians facing trials, you will see different types. Some people are almost wiped out by trials, while others learn to stand in the confidence of God’s faithfulness. Some blame God, or at least whine and complain about the situation, while the others have an overwhelming sense of stability and immovable strength, that God is training and equipping them for serving Him.


Some run from the storm, refusing the learn from their adversity, lurching from crisis to crisis. Others weather the storms, heads held high, confident, bold, and not discouraged by any obstacle that comes along.


Graduates of Uni-Adversity feel absolutely certain that God is going to see them through the heartache and bring them out whole, joyful, and more mature on the other side. Look around at Christians you know who have persevered through adversity, you’ll see the maturity. If you see a Christian that you admire, I guarantee you that they have faced more then their share of Adversity, pain and heartache. Gid has spen a lifetime training and equipping them, building character into them.


Adversity has an unusual habit of showing us where we stand in our faith. This is part of the training and equipping process.


Do we doubt God? Do we thank Him for His faithfulness during the stressful, heart-wrenching times? Do we trust that He will never leave or forsake us? Do we trust that He knows best, even if it is beyond what we think we can bear?


Adversity is God’s most accurate measure of our faith—it reveals our endurance level. It clearly displays our trust, or lack of it, In Him. None of us knows how much difficulty we can withstand until we are tried. Like an athlete in training, we must learn to push through the pain if we are to one day stand on the winners podium.


Quitters never win, and winners never quit!




Right now, whatever you face, however overwhelming your adversity, remember this: God has put a limit on all adversity.


Because you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit is living inside of you, and He knows how much you can bear. The psalmist said:


Psalms 34:19


The righteous person may have many troubles,

but the Lord delivers him from them all;


He won’t push you too far, and He won’t let you suffer longer than is necessary. If you can trust Him in this one, simple point, you can trust Him for everything in your life as He trains you!


When we learn and mature in the midst of tremendous adversity, God is pleased because He sees His purpose being fulfilled in us. Every difficulty we face, He sees our destiny rolling out ahead of us. We are growing spiritually, becoming stronger in areas of weakness, and increasingly being conformed to the likeness of Christ. We learn the secrets of ministering to others who might be in pain. We are undergoing training and equipping for His service.


In short, God is thrilled when we respond correctly to adversity!




Here’s  principles we can learn when we are trained and equipped through our adversity: and remember, learning these correctly will limit the time we have to spend going through the tests!




Adversity is God’s and tool of choice for building godly, spiritual character, and training and equipping the saints. Until we experience heartache, disappointment, and pain, we are not properly undergoing training and equipping for service. He uses adversity to mould and shape us; He does not bring it into our lives without purpose.


Romans 5:3-4

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.


Whatever struggles you face, the prize is not relief of pain. The prize is persevering and winning, whatever the cost, and that is the character God seeks.


Rick Warren says, “Every problem is a character- building opportunity, and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fibre.”




When we face adversity we often also face our own human weaknesses, and this causes us to realise how sinful we are. Many times the difficulties are of our own doing, maybe something we have said or done, so our sin is again exposed to us.


In a crisis, even many sinful people decide to get right with God in the midst of their adversities. Some remain angry, sure, but many want to connect with a God they know is in control of things.


When we face trials and tests they produce pain and sorrow. We must make sure that the sorrow we feel is Godly sorrow which turns us from our sin, not worldly sorrow, which makes us self-centred, depressed and draining.


2 Corinthians 7:10

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.



Adversity often comes in the areas where we feel the most confident. God wants to break our self reliance, and build our absolute trust in Him. He is training and equipping us for life!


Psalms 9:10

Those who know your name trust in you,

for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.


He made us for a loving, intimate relationship with Himself, and He uses adversity to remind us of the fact that we must be fully dependent upon Him.


And the more we know Him, the deeper our trust will be. That’s why I have you reading the Bible reading plan. To know Him is to trust Him. To trust Him is to not rely on yourself, but to follow Him where ever He goes, whatever He asks and however much He decides to put us through.


Knowing Him intimately makes you realise that you can trust Him, even where pain is involved. As you grow closer to Him you realise that He will never, never leave you!




Paul writes,

2 Corinthians 1:8-10


We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,


Paul clearly says that the Adversity was great to teach them not to rely in themselves, but on God. This was the  Apostle Paul, one of the humblest men eve, who speaks as though he was full of pride. He had learned the lessons of UNI- Adversity in this case! He had passed his training and equipping exams!


All the water in the world

However hard it tried,

Could never, never sink a ship

Unless it got inside.

All the hardships of this world,

Might wear you pretty thin,

But they won’t hurt you, one least bit

Unless you let them in.—Author Unknown


Doing things in life our own strength is like letting the water in. Doing it in God’s strength is the way to conquering your Adversity, and His way of training and equipping you!




We sang the song earlier, but what a tremendous lesson to learn…


Lamentations 3:22-23


Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.


That’s the thing. You face trials, and you recognise you cannot stand on your own, you need to fall upon the limitless and awesome faithfulness of God. And here’s the thing… Every time you do this, you learn more and become utterly convinced that God is faithful,… He is totally dependable, He will never let you down.


This is my testimony, after facing our adversities… God is faithful, He has never and will never forsake me… Or you, if you walk with Him.


Psalms 37:25


I was young and now I am old,

yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken

or their children begging bread.


You can’t tell me any different, because I just know! That is faith!




When you have a revelation of how faithful God is, when you have been through Adversity and out the other side as a victor in Christ Jesus, then you can help others who face the same thing. Your pain opens the door to help you minister to others in their pain. He is training and equipping you for service.


2 Corinthians 1:4-5

who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.


So when we learn the lessons of UNI- Adversity, we in turn can be used of God to teach others. Maybe we should pray not for God to remove affliction from us, but to empower us by affliction, that we might minister to others.


In this room many people have suffered or are suffering. I believe God will use this suffering to empower you, and this church is committed to making a way for you to bless others in and through what God has taught you in UNI- Adversity!





If you want to become an effective servant, and this is one of the key aims of my entire life, then adversity is God’s way of training and equipping and moulding you into a mature and effective servant.


When you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, God sees you as a son or daughter.  You might struggle at times, sometimes falling, but He sees you as  justified, redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to Him.


When God looks at you He sees someone full of His unconditional love, indwelt by His presence, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.


And He also sees all of your potential—all the good you could accomplish for His kingdom.


Romans 5:3-4

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,


So take comfort—adversity won’t take up permanent residence in your life. But when it’s present, it can develop good things if you’re willing to trust Him. Therefore, no matter what dark moments you may walk through, be confident that He’s going to bring you into the light. And when He does, it will certainly be worth it.






When adversity comes against you, you most often cannot choose how it happens or through whom it happens, but, you can choose how you respond.


So many people face adversity, and all they do is focus on the trial and the pain. People in pain tend to be very self centred and self focussed, because this is what pain does to you. It fills your mind, it takes over your life, and you feel like no one understands what you are going through.


You can choose to get discouraged, you can choose to give up. You can choose to be angry at a person, or God or both. You can choose to fight hard or curl up into a ball and cry. Or you can choose to trust God and discover what it is that He wants from you in this situation!


You can choose what gets your attention. So what do you focus on when you face tough times? How is He training and equipping you?


Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.



God’s ultimate design is not to give you a comfortable, wonderful life, but to conform you to the likeness of Jesus. Through adversity, God develops the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23)—in us.


A traveller in Africa saw one of the large butterflies of the tropics struggling to free itself from the cocoon. He took pity on its struggles and with his knife cut the cords at which it was straining, and it came safely and easily out. But all the brilliant colouring was gone! The anguish of the struggle was necessary for that. The beautiful colours of the soul are won in the struggle with, and the victory over, trial and adversity.


So if you are facing pain today, physical, emotional, relational, or financial, it’s time to take your eyes off the Adversity and place them firmly on Jesus…


Hebrews 12:1-2


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and Grace!



Today, as you face Adversity, what are you looking at!  If you’re in the middle of trials, tests and pain it’s so hard to drag you focus off your troubles. But if you learn these lessons, you will be blessed beyond measure, made mature and complete and become a blessing to many. Adversity is training and equipping you for your greatest impact on the world!


Adversity comes into your life, but God has a purpose for you. His primary aim is not to make you happy. Not to make you comfortable. Not to give you success in business, in your family, in your ministry or finances. His aim is that you grow spiritually continuously your entire life. He never intends for you to arrive. He continually trains and equips you for the future, and He uses 2 main tools to do this…His Word and circumstances…


WELCOME TO UNI-ADVERSITY- The University of Adversity!

God’s purpose for us is that we grow and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ in our daily lives to reflect more of Him and less of us.


This is Uni-Adversity, where God uses adversity, trials, and tests to educate you and complete your education, to make you Christ like!


Today’s message is like the course overview, the orientation as to what God is going to do over the next several weeks.


Let’s face it, sometimes we plateau, we hit a glass ceiling in our spiritual growth. We get mature and think to ourselves, “I no longer have a need to grow or go any deeper in my walk with God.”


God will allow adversity to come into our lives to move us forward in our walk with Him and cause us to grow in the things that really matter.


How we respond to our trials will either make us or break us. If we will submit ourselves to God during times of adversity we will discover something about our God and ourselves.


If we fight Him, we are in for a rough ride and a whole load of pain, and probably a lot longer course too.


It’s in our interests to pay attention in class at Uni-Adversity. I’d rather not have to resit some of the exams to be honest, especially the painful ones. No one wants to take 20 years to do their bachelor degree, do they? If you learn fast it is to your advantage.


The brook would lose its song if we removed the rocks. So here’s your chance to learn how to make the best song of all!


So let’s start Uni-Adversity right now. Turn to James 1:1-12,


But before we look at James, lesson 1 is clearing up something right at the start…




I have often heard it said, and preached, that God is a good God, and He would never let anything bad happen to you. All you need to do is positively confess and believe, and nothing bad will ever happen. If something bad does happen, then you are either in sin or lack enough faith.


This view is wrong. Bad things happen to good people in our fallen world. It’s that simple, and if you don’t face some sort of adversity or testing, check your pulse to see if you’re still alive!


Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to live a life where nothing ever goes wrong. But the problem with this doctrine is that, by extension, if something does go wrong, then you must be in sin, or at least have a lack of faith. This is where something in me rises up, because I believe this is one of the most destructive and hurtful doctrines in the church.


I was sharing with some young people recently about meeting Joni Erickson, a quadriplegic from age 16, and one of the greatest alumni of the University of Adversity. I saw a man pray for her healing, she didn’t walk, and he accused her of not having enough faith. She said she did, perhaps it was him who did not have enough. Good answer!


Only once in Scripture do we ever see into the inner workings of God and Satan. It is in the book of Job.


Now some say that the reason all those bad things happened to Job is that he lived in fear…


Job 3:25

What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.


But that is taking one verse completely out of context. He lived a holy life, and still all this bad stuff happened to him. So why did his finances, family, health and whole life fall apart.


The Bible clearly tells us why. The devil didn’t start it, God did!


Job 1:8


Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”


God allowed Satan to have his way with Job, but God set limits. If you are facing tough times right now, don’t blame yourself, and don’t blame God. Satan is the guy who does this, but only if the Lord lets him, and only as far as God lets him. God never loses control, but He can and will use Satan to try your faith, teach you to trust and create Christ like character.




Adversity, hard times, disappointments, discouragement… They’re going to come. You cannot simply wish or positively confess your way out of them.




James 1:2


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,


Not if you face trials, but whenever you face them. There is an implied certainty about that. You’re going to face them, time and again, so don’t think you’re  immune. If you don’t have problems, check your pulse and make sure you’re still alive and breathing.


1 Peter 4:12


Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.


So if you are facing trials right now, don’t be shocked! Be joyful. Yes, be joyful and be thankful, because God is training you to become someone greater than you already are!







Secondly, trials are not easily predicted. The Greek word used in the verse for face literally means to fall into, and you know when you slip and fall it’s totally unpredictable. The same word is used of the man who falls into the hands of thieves in the Good Samaritan parable.


And trials are like that, right? We don’t see them coming, and we don’t expect them to escalate. You don’t predict a flat tyre, or a breakdown. You cannot plan out when an appliance is going to blow, or what another driver will do. You can’t choose when you want to get sick or when your child comes home crying. Trials are random.





Problems in life come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Some are minor inconveniences, some are major dramas. Some are short lived, others last years. Some you don’t even recognise until you’re in it, and some you construct yourself.


The Greek word used in James 1:2 for many kinds is literally multicoloured.


Have you ever tried to match colours at a paint shop? This bewildering variety of trials you face is a pretty good description.





But why do we face trials like this in life. Can’t we just come to the Lord and disappear to heaven, never to face another trial, problem or drama again?


Here’s the thing… God has not saved you for your comfort. His highest priority is not giving you a comfortable, cushy life, free from problems, pain, sickness and trials.


James 1:3-4

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


This pain, this adversity you face, it has a purpose. God has a reason… He is working a mighty work within you.


He’s making you mature and complete!


Pain can produce positives. Pressure can produce perseverance. Suffering can create something positive and wonderful.


No adversity happens to you except with a purpose in mind… Your maturity of character, your completeness in Christ likeness. You are not facing trials and pushing though pain for no reason, for God’s amusement or pleasure. No, He always has a reason. Welcome to Uni-Adversity.


The Eucalyptus and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. These cones/fruits can only open to release their seeds after the heat of a bushfire has physically melted the resin. No fire, no heat, no seed, no fruit. And it’s the same with you.


OK, so what possible reason can God have for putting me through what He’s putting me through?


  1. Problems purify your faith.


James uses the words “trials and testing”. These are the same words to describe the process of purifying gold. You heat the gold to the point where the impurities – the dross – are burned off.


Zechariah 13:9

This third I will put into the fire;

I will refine them like silver

and test them like gold.


Trials test us, sure, but they refine us, they purify us, they make us more mature and give us more character.


Christians should be like tea bags. Their true colour comes out in hot water.


When faced with a very adverse situation in the purchase of our building, your leadership decided to step up and believe God. We could have collapsed and cried woe is me, but we didn’t. It’s a test.


Now most often you cannot choose the test, but you can always choose the response!


  1. Problems produce perseverance.


When you face trials and decide to see things through, you produce perseverance. You learn persistence, staying power, a never give up attitude.


You discover hidden reserves of strength you didn’t know we’re there. You find an endurance you previously never though possible. You see it through, keeping your eyes on the goal and then discover the incredible feeling of triumph that only perseverance gives.


  1. Problems help us mature.


Age is inevitable, but maturity is optional.


Trials and adversity help us to grow and mature into the people God wants us to be. We can become mature and complete, not lacking anything.


And strangely, God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. He wants to produce maturity not a meal ticket. He wants you complete, not conveniently cushioned.


Through the Word of God and trials we are matured. And you need both. You can’t get away from one, so you’d better start reading the Word or you won’t mature as well or as fast as God intends.


Trials don’t mean that God doesn’t love you. They mean He really loves you, so much He wants to make you something mature and amazing! He has a plan for you. God’s long range goal goes way beyond your comfort.





This one is a hard one. Our response to our trials will either make us or break us. What does the Bible say?


James 1:2


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,


Hang on a minute… What do you mean joy? That’s not the normal way people respond to adversity! Most often the response to adversity is to get angry, at whoever is doing it, or at God, or both! The next response is to collapse and say, “Why me, Lord? It’s not fair!”


Ok, joy… I guess that means to paint on a happy face and pretend that everything is peachy when inside our life is falling apart, right? Positively confess? Fake it till you make it?


The Greek word for consider is hegeomai, which means to consider, govern or account for… Hence some translations say count it all blessing.


Accountants add things up and balance the books. Sometimes our trials and adversities just don’t seem to add up or make sense. But counting it as blessings means that, no matter what the trials are, we can add them up to joy and something positive in our lives.


Joy in the Greek means gladness, calmness, happiness. It’s not saying get deliriously happy because the trial is so hard, but rather have a quiet sense of joy, not that you face the test, but that you face the test knowing the teacher, and knowing the test is going to yield a great result.


You may not feel any joy, but if you know the teacher, and know that the teacher is on your side and not out to fail you, there is a sense of joy. I’m not glad that our church faces a more difficult financial situation to get this building, but I am glad that this trial is already producing amazing fruit in the lives of leadership and church members alike.





Rather than react, how do we respond to the trials and tests we face?


In the midst of pain, suffering and adversity, how can you genuinely respond with joy? Pray and ask God for wisdom… and you will get it when you need it…


James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


Ask the Lord, is there something I need to be learning here? Ask for wisdom, don’t try and fake it on your own. Say, “Show me how to respond to this trial in a godly way.”


I recommend immersing yourself in the Bible. Pray, ask God for wisdom then ask for a word in season, directly from the Bible. In my hour of need, He just delivers in spades from His Word.


God promises that these trials and tests will not be beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). They might seem too hard, but He knows you better than you even do. And He will not prolong the pain any more than is necessary to achieve the purpose He has, which is to develop your character.


So the right response to adversity, the fast track through Uni-Adversity, is not just to be faithful, but to be joyful…


Habakkuk 3:17-18

Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.




The reward for attending Uni- Adversity is not just intellectual knowledge but practical and applied experience that provided 3 fantastic rewards…


  1. Personal growth and maturity


You get to learn from the trials you have triumphed over, or if you flunked out badly, you get to sit the exam all over again. Either way, you gain valuable knowledge that is practical, powerful and applicable to every aspect of your life. You gain maturity.




Romans 5:3-4

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.


The Greek word here for glory means boasting or pride. Now normally these are not good traits to have, but in this context it means the satisfaction of knowing it’s been a job well done. You feel good, feel triumphant and begin to feel more mature in Christ. Combine this with reading the Word every day, and you have the double whammy, you have the 2 proven tools that yield great maturity.


In good times we can survive with a shallow root system, In tough times our roots must go deep. In good times we can stand alone, but in tough times we need to interlock our root systems and send them down deep!


As Christians face the winds of adversity and the storms of trouble, they rise like the skylark. They are like the trees that survive the storm because their roots are driven deep. They are like the trees that grow on mountain ridges—trees battered by winds, yet, trees in which we find the strongest wood.


The skylark, the flowers, the trees—all these illustrate Job’s words: “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (23:10 NIV).


The Christian who understands this aspect of God’s nature can find comfort in his suffering and peace in his pain.


Job 5:17-18


“Blessed is the one whom God corrects;

so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

For he wounds, but he also binds up;

he injures, but his hands also heal.


Growth and maturity means not blaming God, but staying close to Him and learning the lessons of Uni-Adversity!


  1. The Ability to Help Others


Experiencing trials and adversity gives you empathy with what others are going through. But graduating and  triumphing in your Uni-Adversity course gives you powerful, proven strategies to help others in their hour of need.


I didn’t enjoy losing all out money and nearly going bankrupt in the GFC. I certainly did not enjoy losing out family home. But we kept trusting God, and I am really rejoicing in what this has done in my life, Fiona’s life and even our finances. God is so good!


Thus when the church fell short financially, I had no hesitation in encouraging the eldership that God will do this for us!  I can face our financial future and the future of Coast Church with real confidence, because I’ve been there, done that, got the T Shirt and have experienced God coming through when we needed Him most.


Jesus does the same with us. He suffered, understands, empathises and can show us strategies to triumph too…


Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.


  1. Eternal Rewards


James 1:12


Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.


Make no mistake, every time you face tough times and trials, when you triumph you are building a reward in heaven. You are laying up treasure that lasts eternity…


Matthew 6:19-21


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


CONCLUSION to University of Adversity


In this series I pray that you will find the reason for the trials you face, the response and the reward that will bring you through to true spiritual maturity.


God has a purpose for every trial that comes into your life. Nothing happens to you without His  approval or purpose. He has the power to work things out to your good, regardless of the circumstances you are facing.   God’s perspective is not the same as yours. God sees the end point clearly, the purpose and outcome of your trial, while all you and I see is the pain and the problem. He sees the future while all you and I see is the present.


So what do you seek? God’s command or your comfort. Spiritual maturity or sensual monotony? At Uni-Adversity, God is going to develop a people that have been tried and proven, who have learned to grow through adversity and are willing to follow Him and change whatever is necessary to graduate.


I know some of you face terrible trials right now, and we as a family want to support you and face them with you. If you face trials that seem big, ugly and unassailable, come forward and let us stand with you!


Specifically, if you face health trials come forward. If you face financial trials, come forward. We are going to pray not that God takes them away, but that God accomplishes what He wants to do in your life through them.

Whispers of Love

A young child tries to walk… Takes a couple of steps, then falls awkwardly. Dad picks her up and whispers words of encouragement to her. She tries to walk again… whispers of love.


A mother and her young son are sitting on a train. The train enters a tunnels, and suddenly everything goes black. The boy cries out for his mother, and she whispers, “I’m right here sweetheart.” Whispers of love.


A man holds the reins of a horse and leads him through the undergrowth. Suddenly a twig snaps, and the horse reacts by pulling back and rearing up, fear in its eyes. The man calms the horse, and whispers gently to it, and the horse begins to settle. Whispers of love.


A couple walk along a beach at sunset. They stop and embrace, and whisper in each other’s ear, “I love you.” Whispers of love.


These are whispers of love.


In the noise and pace of our modern society, we mostly don’t hear whispers. They are swamped by the racket of living in the 21st century, but they’re still there, still being whispered, but not often being heard.


We have the horse whisperer, we have the dog whisperer, but where oh where is the person whisperer?  Where are the Whispers of love for you and me?




1 Kings 19

Elijah was a powerful prophet of God. He stood against the wickedness of Jezebel and King Ahab, and proclaimed holiness when his life was in great peril. He had a huge victory over the bad guys on Mount Carmel, but coming down off that huge high, he ran in fear of his life.


Down, discouraged, miserable, he fled to a cave in the mountains, and God sought him out and found him there. He needed God to connect with him at the lowest point in his life.


If you’re down and low today, you need God to connect with you. If you’re discouraged, overwhelmed by life, wishing you could run away, then guest what, you’re in good company, because you’re just like the prophet Elijah.You need to hear a whisper.


Let’s look at his encounter with God…



1 Kings 19:11-13


The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”



All the noise, the clamour, the earthquakes, the fires, the thunder and lightening… And where do we find God? In the still, small voice, in the quietness, in the gentle whisper of love.


Whispers of love are there, all around us, if we can quieten our hearts enough to hear them. But are they always God, and how can we be sure?



Some whispers don’t encourage you, they discourage you. Who among us has never been the victim of gossip like we read about in these passages…


Psalms 41:7-9


All my enemies whisper together against me;

they imagine the worst for me, saying,

“A vile disease has afflicted him;

he will never get up from the place where he lies.”

Even my close friend,

someone I trusted,

one who shared my bread,

has turned against me.


Or this…


Lamentations 3:62

what my enemies whisper and mutter

against me all day long.


How do you feel when they whisper about you, then stop why you get close? Sometimes whispers can really hurt, if you’re not in on the conversation.


As Errol Flynn said, “It’s not what they say about you, it’s what they whisper!”


Another whisper is really creepy. I believe in God and the devil, I believe in angels and also demons. Job describes an incredible encounter with a demon…


Job 4:12-17


“A word was secretly brought to me,

my ears caught a whisper of it.

Amid disquieting dreams in the night,

when deep sleep falls on people,

fear and trembling seized me

and made all my bones shake.

A spirit glided past my face,

and the hair on my body stood on end.

It stopped,

but I could not tell what it was.

A form stood before my eyes,

and I heard a hushed voice:

‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?

Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?


I have experienced this phenomenon. It’s absolutely terrifying, you cannot move and the terror that runs up and down your spine is beyond the worse horror movie you’ve ever seen. You have no doubt that this is not from God, because the evil presence is palpable. Demons are real, but the Bible says,

1 John 4:4

the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.


So not all whispers are the Lord, not all whispers are of love, some are just, to quote George Michael, careless whispers.




The Hebrew word for whisper used in the Isaiah passage means a voice… It could be a loud, commanding voice, a whisper, a crying out. But the word is preceded by a Hebrew word literally translated as thin, gaunt or dwarfed. So the voice of God here is not a commanding thunder,but a thin, still small voice. Why? Because the quiet whisper is a sign of affection. It’s a Whispers of love.


Whispering doesn’t work very well if you’re speaking to someone who’s standing on the other side of the room. God doesn’t want a long-distance relationship; he wants a close, intimate one.


Christianity is not a religion, it’s not a set of rules, it’s not the Ten Commandments or fire or brimstone… Christianity is relationship, between God and you, one on one, intimate, close, loving, special.




How do you begin to hear and recognise God’s voice? In the noise and hustle and bustle of life,how can you hear the Whispers of love from God?




To hear the gentle whisper,you need a heart that’s seeking God.


I bet that’s you, right? I mean, why are you here at church? Why do you come back? What is it that draws you here? Is it so you can meet friends, so you can have our awesome morning teas or coffee, or are you seeking the Lord?


Do you have a seeking heart?  In the Old Testament, David had this kind of heart. He once wrote, “In my heart, I long for you, as I would long for a stream in a scorching desert” (Psalm 63:1, CEV)


If you want to hear God’s voice, you need to seek him like David.


Seeking God is about being honest with him. Tell him any frustrations, fears or doubts you may have about hearing from him. Ask him to give you ears to hear and eyes to see the ways he is speaking to you. Ask him for the ability to recognise the difference between his voice and your thoughts.


Don’t  be a fake. Some people believe in the power of positive pretending. Fake it till you make it.


Listen, God doesn’t honour lying, to someone else or to yourself. Don’t try and fake faith, don’t try and talk yourself into what you want God to do for you. If the Lord says it, you can believe it. If you tell the Lord what He’s going to do, if you think God is just there to do your bidding, then you’re  in for major disappointment. Don’t try and conjure what’s not there, for goodness sake, just be honest with yourself and with God.


Here’s a promise:


Jeremiah 29:12-13

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.


That’s His promise… Seek Him, and you will find Him! Listen, and you will hear a Whispers of love.





If you want to hear the whisper of God, you need to learn His language. When you study the Bible, you open yourself up to the very heart and personality of God. It’s like learning to speak a heavenly language. God will speak to you from His Word.


As you study the Scripture, keep your eyes open for teachings and stories that reveal who God is and what He’s like. Ask Him to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.


Isaiah 55:11

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.


God speaks to me nearly every day from His Word. As I read from the Bible Reading plan, you would be amazed at how many verses jump off the page at me… Every single day! The Whispers of love!




To hear a whisper you need to be a good listener. Hearing God’s voice requires you learning the skill of listening.


This may sound easy, but actually making time to sit still and listen in your heart can be a challenge in our super-busy world. It is hard to get quiet and even harder to stay that way.


How often have you tried to wait on God, only to be interrupted by a “hold on a sec …” because the phone rings, a Facebook message pings, or someone’s at the door. What keeps you from really stopping and waiting on the Lord. The phone? Facebook? The TV?


You can also practice hearing the Lord all through the day


Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


That small voice. That little prompting. That tiny though that pops into your brain, that you know is not you. The more you practice listening, the more easily you will hear His voice. The more you know Him, the more you recognise His voice, and the more you are ready and willing to trust Him and obey.


Hearing from God is about more than just turning off the cell and closing down your Facebook app. It requires a quiet heart. Settling those thoughts, putting aside the urgent things of the day. It means becoming still enough on the inside despite the craziness on the outside.




Hearing the whisper of God takes time, effort and patience. Learning to hear, recognise and understand the ways God speaks, like the shampoo commercial, doesn’t happen overnight,  but it does happen.


It may take several years of practice, and patient waiting on God, before you’re completely comfortable with hearing and recognising God’s voice. No matter how long it takes, be confident that he has heard your prayers and will respond.


Being that close to God is worth the wait!


Waiting is a different concept for God. It does not mean sitting, wasting time, bored and twiddling your thumbs.


Psalms 27:14

Wait for the Lord;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord.


Waiting in God’s dimension means being strong, taking heart and continuing to do what you do until God steps in and makes it happen. Waiting to hear the whisper is like that… Be strong, take heart and keep listening, waiting and seeking God. He will not let you down. He promises He will answer.




Hearing God’s whisper doesn’t mean much if we don’t obey. Many people constantly wonder if what they hear is really from God, and this constant wondering paralyses them, so they never take action.  This keeps them from taking action. The fear of being wrong prevents them from ever having the opportunity to be right.


Remember, God looks at the heart. When he sees you stepping out in faith—even if you’re heading in the wrong direction—he can lovingly correct you, pointing you in the right direction. It’s easier to steer a moving ship, so step out, be obedient and take action about what you believe God is whispering to you.


If God whispers to you to buy a coffee for a homeless man, or ask a guy at the bank if you can pray for him, why not step out and listen and be obedient?


Ultimately, far more important than your religious devotion, your going to church or your Christian jargon is your obedience.


1 Samuel 15:22b


To obey is better than sacrifice,

and to heed is better than the fat of rams.


As you’re obedient in small things, so the Lord will lead you into greater things.


Luke 16:10


“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.


Through a pattern of obedience, you begin to develop a confidence and assurance that you really have heard from God. You can’t really explain it. It’s internal. Someone may ask how you know you’re supposed to do something in particular. You respond, “I can just sense it inside. I just know.” You have learned to hear the Whispers of love from God.


You should always have a yardstick concerning what you hear. The Word of God is our yardstick, against which we measure and judge every whisper. God will never whisper something that contradicts His revealed will in the Bible. He just won’t!




We’ve all played this game at some time. You start with a whisper, and the further along the line it gets, the more twisted and crazy the whisper becomes.


And that’s often what it’s like hearing the whisper of God. The further away from the source you are, the less distinct the voice is. If you only ever hear God in a sermon, in a you tube clip or from your friends, then you are missing out.


You need to be able to hear His whisper, and even more than that, to recognise it, to be familiar with it. Then you need to obey it, to be ready to act upon what the whisper says, and to live moment by moment in constant communication with God.


John 10:3-5

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”


The Greek word used in this passage for voice is the word phone, from which we get the English word phone. So when His sheep hear His voice, it’s like a personal phone connection between you and God!


Can you recognise the Whispers of love from God? Do you live in His presence moment by moment? Do you want to?





It is not enough to hear on occasions, when we have a need or a problem to face. We need to have an open line to the throne of God every moment. We looked earlier at this verse from Isaiah…


Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


I you can tune your heart to that still, small voice, if you can live moment by moment in communication with God, sensitive to His every whisper, then your entire life will change. You won’t approach decisions, business, family or anything in the same way. You will start to see everything God’s way, and you will begin to walk in victory every moment!


CS Lewis once said,, “Prayer doesn’t change God; it changes me.”


How profound and true that is! Your communication with God is your intimate connection with Him, it’s your lifeline direct to the Father who loves you, who whispers His love to you. His Whispers of love.


Then, when you are getting closer to Him, He allows you to participate in the work that He is doing and even to see His actions in relationship to your prayers. God hears and answers every prayer, but His purposes in prayer go far beyond giving you the answer that suits you!


God wants to transform your life through the process of prayer, through the familiarity of hearing and recognising and obeying His holy Whispers of love.. Your personal relationship with Christ is deepened and enlarged when you spend time talking to Him, and listening to His voice.. As you come into His presence with reverence and a quiet heart, ready to listen, He begins to purify your heart, change your perspectives and sift your priorities. You develop a passion for obedience to God, and you begin to see Him as the Provider for all your needs.


Most important, you experience the peace that comes from knowing God is in control (Phil. 4:6-7). Your anxiety melts away as you learn to trust Him. These are just some of the ways God uses prayer to change your heart. The more you pray, the more transformations you’ll discover. The more you recognise God’s Whispers of love, the more you obey His still, small voice, the more you will live in the peace that only comes from being at the centre of His will and purpose.


Hebrews 4:7

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden