Today is a major day in the history of this church. It is a day of fresh beginnings, it is a day of fresh vision. As you can see, the stage is different, no longer black and dull because we have added a little colour. It is also the day when we launch our new name.
WHY CHANGE YOUR NAME?
Now some people think this is a great idea, while others are not so sure. This is not about whether it is your preference or not, I have sensed for 2 years and had it confirmed in dozens of ways that we need to change our name. Why change your name?
If you look throughout the Bible you will see that many times names were changed at significant points in people’s lives especially after encounters with God. Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul, Judas became Mud! Encounters with the Lord caused new direction in the lives of these men, and sometimes, but not always, it was accompanied by a change of name.
In Bible times a name should tell you something about a person, and so it is with us.
The name Coast Church has been around for several years, and is quite a strange one. We are nowhere near the coast, we get mixed up all the time with Suncoast Church, and we have significant history both good and bad, some of which is great and some of which we need to distance ourselves from.
The other week at our national conference I believe the Lord spoke clearly to me confirming once again the name change, and He used the phrase “draw a line under the past.” So today, we draw a line under the past, take our eyes from the past and look to the future!
And also this very week in my quiet times came a verse which I believe some of us need to hear…
Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong’s)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Today God is doing a new thing among us, and I believe this change of name is a new thing that will yield fruit long into the future. The leadership have been seeking the Lord for many months regarding His choice of name, and we wanted one that spoke prophetically into the future the Lord has for us. So without any further ado, here is our new name…
IGNITE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Went camping a few weeks ago, and lit a small fire. Just after I lit the fire, a massive storm blew up, and I watched the tiny flame whip up into something extraordinary. As the wind rushed across the little fire, the embers glowed, the flames grew and the sparks began to fly far away. At this point God spoke into my heart and said, “This is what I have destined for you!”
I shared this with a few pastors in oversight last week, and they loved it. They believed that Ignite speaks prophetically into our church about the task ahead, to ignite fires of the Holy. Spirit right across this great land. And, after input from many including our prayer folk, it was decided to call it a Christian Church, because of the evil times in which we live. We will proudly profess to be Christians, no matter the consequences in these troubled days!
Now you might be thinking that calling yourself ignite is a brave move for a group of people who live in a 100 year old wooden building, but I want to share my vision of how Ignite Christian Church can set your life ablaze with the power of God.
FIRE AS A SYMBOL
Fire is a frequently used symbol in the Bible. It is a symbol of judgement at Sodom and Gomorrah, it’s a symbol of sacrifice for Abraham and Isaac. In the temple, fire denoted sacrifice too, and Paul continues this image when he talks of us being a living sacrifice in Roman 12:1. Fire was a key image of God’s guidance right through the Exodus, leading, guiding and protecting God’s people
Exodus 13:21 (ESV Strong’s)
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
And of course when the Holy Spirit was poured out…
Acts 2:2-4 (ESV Strong’s)
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Fire is a powerful and arresting manifestation of the presence of God, and that’s why we are seeking the Lord as a Church and asking Him to ignite and fan into flame His presence among us.
Hebrews 12:29 (ESV Strong’s)
for our God is a consuming fire.
But enough of the theology, what do we hope this new name does for you as our church family? Let me share one fiery encounter…
Exodus 3:2-4 (ESV Strong’s)
And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
The Hebrew for burning means fire, kindling, it also means it was ignited. So our prayer is that Ignite Christian Church ignites something special within you today! It was a bush on fire that turned Moses aside, and it will be a Church on fire, believers on fire that will turn a world aside that is heading to hell fire!
And I for one want to be on fire for Christ! If I am on fire, if the leaders are on fire, if the church is on fire with the power of the Holy Spirit, then chances are you will be ignited too! John Wesley was once asked why he attracted such crowds to his preaching, and he replied, “I set myself on fire in the pulpit, and people came to watch me burn.”
So this is what we want to ignite in you…
1. IGNITE YOUR PASSION FOR CHRIST
Last week we talked about first love, and first love must involve passion. Now passion can be a good or a bad thing. I’m passionate about many things, but I’m especially passionate about the Lord Jesus. Passion is often described in terms of a burning within, so in a sense we want to ignite the right kind of fire as passion in your life.
In Romans 1:27 we see the bad side of passion,
Romans 1:27 (ESV Strong’s)
the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another,
That’s not the passion we want to stir up, but rather passion for the One who saved your souls…
Romans 12:10-11 (ESV Strong’s)
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
The phrase fervent in spirit is often translated “Keep the fire of devotion burning strong.”
In this church, we want to ignite a passion within you for Jesus Christ, and we want to stoke that fire until it is white hot, until it is all consuming. I’m asking the Lord for a church of on fire believers, so my prayer is that He ignites a fire of the Holy Spirit within all of us!
2. IGNITE YOUR PASSION FOR THE LOST
Jeremiah proclaimed the word of the Lord to a generation that treated him with scorn and derision. Frankly, he got tired of the attacks, and tried to keep his mouth shut and just let them go to hell… literally. But then he writes this…
Jeremiah 20:9 (ESV Strong’s)
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
The fire for evangelism kindled up or ignited and burned so deep within him that he could not stay quiet. And that is my prayer for all of us. That we ignite the fires of Evangelism so that we share our faith and see people coming to Christ on a scale we have never even dreamed of! Now I believe that we face persecution as Christians in this next season, but oh Lord, ignite a fire and a passion within us to share our faith and win this area to Christ!
3. IGNITE YOUR PASSION FOR THE TRUTH
Truth is a dubious commodity these days, and even in the church we have well meaning but deluded people watering down God’s clear commands and truths. But when you ignite the truth it has a way of exploding in fire, searing consciences and burning the fakeness and self centred theories off like dross. Have you ever wondered why, on the road to Emmeus, the disciples said this…
Luke 24:32 (ESV Strong’s)
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
Their hearts were ignited because Jesus expounded truth to them, and when Jesus ignited the fire it was as if their hearts burned within them. And that’s our agenda here, we want to ignite a passion for the truth, and we want truth to be preached and taught and spoken about over coffee, and we want the truth of God’s Word burning within us, because the truth is what will set you free!
So we will continue to preach and teach the Word of God…
2 Timothy 4:2-4 (ESV Strong’s)
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
4. IGNITE YOUR PASSION FOR WORSHIP
Worshipping the Lord is a part of our Christian life, and we want to ignite a real passion within all of us to worship the King of Kings
Psalms 39:3-4 (ESV Strong’s)
My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue: “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
The Psalmist had ignited within Him a heat or a passion for worship, such that he could not but speak out the praises of the Lord! How small we are, how awesome God is, we want Church to ignite a passion for praise and worship that consumes us!
We are starting special meetings that will be just praise and worship, prophecy and prayers. I believe that these services will ignite a passion within us that will empower us to reach our community for Christ!
5. IGNITE YOUR PASSION FOR YOU OWN MINISTRY
One of the central desires I have had as your pastor is to stir up the gifts that you have. This is why we do 101 and 201, and if you have a desire for ministry in your heart, this is the place for you. My calling, my passion is to release people into ministry. If you want to minister and make a difference in the lives of others, we have teams here that can help you, train you and give you opportunities that simply do not exist elsewhere.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV Strong’s)
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The Greek word for “fan into flame” is a compound word anazo-pyro, where anazo means make alive and pyro means fire. So this word translates as to inflame, to kindle up or to ignite a fire.
If you long to be involved in ministry, this church can and will ignite the ministry flames in your heart!
6. IGNITE YOUR PASSION FOR THE CHURCH
Ephesians 5:25 (ESV Strong’s)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Jesus loves the church… many modern Christians don’t, many profess to love the Lord but hate Church, but Christ loves the church. We are still His plan for a fallen world.
I believe that on our coast, for every believer in church there is a believer dislocated from Church. Dislocated means not connected in. I have many times dislocated my shoulder, and I can tell you the experience is painful, sickening and when I do it, my arm is not functioning properly. So too, believers not connected to church are usually in pain, feeling separated and not functioning the way God wants them to.
And they’re mostly like this because someone in Church, usually the pastor, has offended them, or upset them, or bored them to tears.
Our prayer is that this church ignites a fresh a passion for the church, and for bringing others into the Church. A church that is a home, a place of peace and excitement, a place of love and support. Are we perfect? No, of course not. But are we still God’s answer or a hurting world? Absolutely!
7. IGNITE OUR NATION
Luke 12:49 (ESV Strong’s)
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!
Already kindled? Already ignited? We face one of the bleakest times for Christianity in this nation, but if we ignite a fire together, then when it’s darkest we can shine more brightly than ever before!
Zechariah 13:9 (ESV Strong’s)
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
We are going to be tested, but by God’s grace, the truth of the Word of God and by the power of His Spirit, we will stand firm, and we will be refined by fire, ignited and consumed for our Jesus!
The vision for moving ahead in Ignite Christian Church is not to just build a big church. How do you start a bushfire? Not by building a big bonfire and toasting marshmallows, but by igniting a string of fires that spread and build momentum.
I believe we are called to ignite fires right across this area, and even beyond, and start a series of fires that will transform a nation! My vision is to plant new churches out of this one. And to build up those churches who are struggling. Let’s kindle the fire, let’s ignite a fire together and see revival fires sweep across our nation!
STAND WITH US
Ignite Christian Church is a new start, a fresh vision, but also I believe a God given prophetic word to our people. It’s time to unite and ignite, its time to not look back but to unite as one as we look to the future. It’s time to light a fire against which the gates of hell shall not prevail!
So what I’m asking of you this morning is how about it? Will you join us? You have the opportunity to stand with us and ignite these passions in your own life. I’m asking you to join with us to ignite the fire of God in our nation and believe God for revival in the great Southland of the Holy Spirit!
And what will this take? We need to discover the greatest strength we have as believers… unity!
Psalm133 shows us that when we have unity, we will see the Lord bestow His blessing, even life forevermore. Last week we attended our state conference, and they spoke on unity. It was said that when we unite around a God given vision for the Church, God can do wonders. Unity is not about just getting along, it’s not about us enjoying unity and peace. No, it’s far more than that.
That Psalm talk about unity seeing a flow of anointing oil, overflowing the face and beard of Aaron
Psalms 133:2 (ESV Strong’s)
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
What it is talking about is the flow of the Holy Spirit. Disunity blocks the flow, but if we stand together, united and ignited in unity, we will see a flow of the Holy Spirit such as we have never seen before!
So that is the challenge… We may not see eye to eye on everything, but if we are mature enough, we can walk hand in hand and arm in arm. So will you join us and ignite the fires of revival, in your own heart, in our church and across our nation?