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15th June 2014
Christians are those who have died! It says in the Bible that we have died with Christ; we have died to our old life, our sin and shame, and been buried. But salvation doesn't stop there. Colossians 3 says we also been raised with Christ. We are now seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). From this position, we are called to live in a completely different way. The cross is the gateway through which we come into a brand new kingdom – we have been repositioned, and we now live and function from this new position as citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20).
Whether we live according to this new position is intrinsically linked to the way we think and whether or not our minds have been renewed (Romans 12:2). It is so easy for us to slip into an earthly mindset – it comes naturally to us. But we are to take every thought captive and live with a new, heavenly mindset. We are called to be people who overflow with joy, mercy, compassion and love. We only do this when we think with a heavenly perspective.
We can scramble around on an earthly plain, getting stressed and anxious about earthly things. It can be like we're at the bottom of a mountain and all we can see is rough terrain, boulders, obstacles and challenges. But God has called us to the mountain top, from where we can get a clear view for miles around. From our proper place – where we are actually seated – we get an eternal, panoramic perspective. As it says in Colossians: "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (3:2)
If we want revelation in our lives, we have a responsibility to look up to heaven and align our thoughts with God's truth by dwelling on things that are above. It's repentance and ongoing decisions to think differently. Sometimes we don't need more prayer to experience more mercy or love; we need to set our minds on these things. Proverbs 23:7 says: "For as he thinks within himself, so he is." Our thoughts determine what we believe, and consequently how we live.
It's not just our thoughts that are different, but it's the way we think too. Battles are won and lost in our minds. How has your thinking changed since you came to know Jesus? Are you thinking with a heavenly perspective today? Are there practical steps you can take to gain a heavenly perspective in areas where you have previously struggled?
Listen to the preach on this subject here.
Image: Paradise on Earth by Muzaffar Bukhari
Posted by Santino Hamberis
6th May 2012
What is the church? In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul describes it as a household, the church of the living God, and a pillar and foundation of the truth.
The church is not just a club we join or somewhere to go on Sunday mornings; it is God's household and He has chosen us to become part of His family. We are now united in Christ, brothers and sisters, each with a vital role to play as together we reflect the love of Jesus.
God's household has love on display – it's where the lonely find a family, the forgotten belong, the broken receive healing and restoration, the outcast is accepted and included – it's where ordinary people like you and me receive His mercy and are welcomed home!
Secondly, Paul writes that it is the church of the living God: individually and collectively, we are the temple of God, those in whom He lives by His Spirit. When we gather together, we should expect to encounter and experience the loving presence of the living God, who transforms us, heals us and fills us with peace and joy.
Finally, the church is described in this passage as a pillar and foundation of the truth or, in the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible, as a "buttress" of the truth. 'Buttress' can be defined as 'the protecting rock', surrounding and reinforcing God's truth. That's the church!
We are God's household, where His presence dwells and the truth of the gospel is declared, defended and demonstrated. Jesus has won the victory, and we – the church – reflect His glory to our town and the surrounding areas.
Verses: 1 Timothy 3:14-16
Food for thought:
Posted by Santino Hamberis
15th April 2012
The apostle Paul cared for Timothy as a father cares for his son. Paul was eager that Timothy would continue in his faith, even when at times it might seem like a battleground. He urged Timothy to "fight the good fight" or, as the ESV translates it, "wage the good warfare" – not to sit passively and not to shipwreck his faith, but to actively stand strong, hold on and fight!
How should Timothy do this – and how do we? The apostle Paul sets out some instructions for us that help us; there are things to hold on to that will keep us on track.
Firstly, open and honest relationships with other Christians who are more mature: in the same way that Paul could speak into Timothy's life, we all need people to whom we open up and allow them to speak honestly to us.
Secondly, Paul encourages Timothy to hold onto prophetic words over him. These are words that God has spoken, that line up with the Bible and have been weighed and tested by mature believers, and therefore are a great source of strength and encouragement to Timothy.
Thirdly, faith and a good conscience are vital to fighting the good fight: holding onto the deep truths of the faith and keeping your heart pure, soft and open before God are crucial.
Finally, the most important thing as we wage war is to make Jesus central – we avoid shipwrecking our faith by keeping our eyes fixed on the one who is the Light of the World!
Verses: 1 Timothy 1:18-20
Food for thought:
Posted by Santino Hamberis
1st February 2012
On Sunday, Paul continued the 1 Timothy preaching series, emphasising that if we put in truth, we get out a right life – a life full of love. He encouraged us not to just leave our Bibles by our bedsides, but instead to make sure we are digging deep into the Word of God, fertilising our lives with the truth of the gospel.
In response, are you looking for something to help you to focus your daily devotions or Bible study, or do you need the next wholesome and practical 'good read' to help you get into God's Word? If so, you might like to discover Phil Moore's Straight to the Heart series. These books are based on individual books of the Bible, from Matthew's Gospel to the Acts of the Apostles to 1 & 2 Corinthians, as well as some Old Testament books too.
Each book in the series features '60 Bite-sized Insights'. They are not comprehensive commentaries – usually each insight is just three or four pages bringing fresh, and often challenging, perspectives on familiar texts and stories, flavoured with Phil's spiritual wisdom and historical knowledge.
Try the book on Acts; usually the book we turn to when we want to understand how to 'do church'. But Acts is much more than that and Phil leads us through the Acts of the Apostles and of the Holy Spirit, drawing out much practical application. For example, from Acts 2 you will be helped, and possibly challenged, about how we present the gospel; from Acts 4, Phil's delightful example – using Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story films! – brings insight as to how we relate to God in prayer; from Acts 10, we are reminded that we must not let Satan fool us into reducing our expectations of the Holy Spirit; while from Acts 16 Phil clearly explains our election, its many dimensions, and the fact that it gives us complete assurance – past, present and future.
Once you've read one of the series you will be back for more (Moore!).
Some of Phil Moore's Straight to the Heart books are available at the Resources Area on Sunday mornings.
Posted by Natalie Williams