ALL OF THE NUMBERS SAY THE SAME THING (2 of 5)

Here is the second of five Primary Purpose programs (91.9  1 WAY FM) that have been or will be aired on the station.  The series is called :Making the Most of Modern Marriage.  In each case there is a summary that can be opened up here as a .pdf and the audio can be listened to as an MP3.

 

 

 

 

Primary Purpose Making the Most of Marriage #2

 

121122 Making the Most of Moder Marriage #2

THE NEW DEAL is not a REBADGED OLD DEAL

What is claimed to be new sometimes is just the old presented in a different way

One of the most profound and powerful resisting forces in Christian experience is the most recent status quo.  It is well attested that the group that will most strongly resist the next renewal/reformation is the one representing the most recent renewal/reformation.  The Catholic church resisted Luther. Luther resisted the Radical reformers.  Lutherans resisted the Pietists and Anabaptists.  The Anglicans (a product of the reformation) resisted Wesley (evangelicals) and the evangelicals resisted the pentecostals and then the pentecostals resisted the charismatic renewal.

This was the case in the ministry of Jesus and it continued through the ministry of the early church and was clearly Paul’s most ubiquitous problem.  Galatians and Hebrews are two books dedicated to presenting the message that the new covenant is NEW not rebadged old.  Some wanted the new covenant to put a Jesus Badge on traditional Judaism.

The word “reNEWal” describes exactly what it says.  When God brings renewing and refreshing Holy Spirit life to the church it is with for the purpose of reminding all of us about what is GENUINE NEW COVENANT LIFE.

Here are some radio programs that talk about the importance of recognising what is genuinely NEW in the new covenant and what is rebadged old.

 

1205.1 The new covenant #1

1205.1 The new covenant #2

1205.1 The new covenant #3

1205.1 The new covenant #4

1205.1 The new covenant #5

 

Brian

 

 

 

IN THE SYNAGOGUE AT CAPERNAUM MARK 1

Holy love floods the hearts of ordinary people and flushes out the presence of a demonic stronghold. 

A view of Capernaum today. This was the operations base for the whole of Jesus three years of ministry

When Jesus began his ministry he used Capernaum as an operations base.  The first bunch of incidents recorded in Mark, talk about what happened there.  I am looking for the distinctives that describe the unique love that makes the presence and purposes of God known.  Since Jesus is the most complete expression of this kind of love we are looking here for revelation that will enable us to firstly define that love and then we can seek the transformation that will enable us to be conduits of love to people who don’t know about it.

The following is a process that I have been using to try and become aware of the way that love was made known through Jesus.

PIECES OF INFORMATION FROM THE WORDS OF THE PASSAGE:  MARK 1:21-28

  1. Jesus and the disciples came to Capernaum
  2. When the Sabbath day came he went off to the service at the synagogue
  3. He was teaching in the synagogue – (must have been acknowledged as a rabbi)
  4. When people heard Jesus teaching they were impacted by the anointing of the Spirit upon what he said.  They felt the message, not just heard it.
  5. This was different from the scribes.  When the scribes taught the people heard what they said but didn’t feel it.
  6. There was a man in the congregation who had a demon
  7. The presence of Jesus caused the demon to make its presence known – the demon tried to mock Jesus by speaking truth about him.
  8. Jesus rebuked the demon and told him to be silent.
  9. He then commanded the demon to come out of the man
  10. The man convulsed and with a loud sound he was gone from the man.
  11. The people were amazed by this demonstration of authority over demons
  12. When the people left the synagogue they talked about what had happened to everyone and Jesus’ reputation spread all over Galilee

 

PEOPLE AND PEOPLE GROUPS TO WHOM LOVE WAS SHOWN

  1. The people attending the synagogue service
  2. The demonized man

 

The People in the Synagogue at Capernaum

  1. Jesus chose to teach the truth of God – not as the people had heard it from the incumbent religious leaders but as the presence of God in their midst.
  2. The people attending the synagogue are shown love because they get to experience the presence of God in the teaching, not just have a whole bunch of information thrown at them.  They feel the presence and authority of God as Jesus teaches them.
  3. They have a chance to respond to the experience of that authority by yielding tow what Jesus is saying as God’s presence authenticates it.

 

The Demonised Man

  1. The presence of Jesus and his teaching expose what the many may not have been aware of and what had not been exposed by what had previously happened in that synagogue.  He flushed out the demonic presence.
  2. Jesus exercised the authority of heaven to expulse the demon from the man even though it had caused quite a commotion and had tried to discredit Jesus. The man was freed from the influence of that demon in his life.

 

How this kind of love came to be shown

  1. He decided have a relationship with the Father that resulted in truth being part of his life experience not just part of his knowledge.
  2. He decided not to teach in the way that every other teacher did it and risk disapproval or confusion it might create.
  3. He knew what anointing was.
  4. The anointing he operated under was not some secret mystery experience (like something that would happen in the operations of the mystery religions) – his anointing was something that ordinary people were aware of.  It is interesting that the ordinary people in the synagogue were aware of it but the religious leaders were immune to it.
  5. He wasn’t trying to impress the leaders by using their own methods and sounding clever and having a little affair that only they would understand.  His focus was on delivering the majesty and presence of his Father to everyone who “had ears to hear.”

 

REVELATION:            DISTINCTIVES OF THE GOD KIND OF LOVE

  1. Offering truth as a multi-dimensional experience:  information and experience  (“and they were astonished at his teaching…one who had authority”)
  2. Having a presence and message that exposed demonic strongholds and the courage and care to overcome them and set someone free (“He commands even the spirits”)

HOW MIGHT I GET TO BE ABLE TO SHOW THAT KIND OF LOVE?

  1. Have the same kind of relationship with the Father so that the experience of truth impacts my heart and lifestyle and therefore comes out as something that has authority, not just knowledge and information.
  2. Teaching is simply sharing truths, skills, and awareness in a way that enables people to become equipped.  It can happen with a group or with one other person and still be teaching.  I need to consider what I am qualified to teach based on what God has done in my own life and experience.
  3. I need to consider whether I am trying to teach others relying on methods produced by this world’s kingdom or whether I am able to teach relying on the anointing of the Spirit.
  4. I need to question whether, when I teach, ordinary people are able to experience the presence of God in that teaching experience or whether they just experience my own personality or ability.
  5. I need to think about whether I am trying to impress the “important people” in a gathering or reach the people with open ears and hearts.

 

SUMMARY

I haven’t put the actual information in the summary below.  I have done it for myself and I would encourage you to do it for yourself.

REVELATION                        What did God reveal through this part of the Bible?

PRAYER                                     What do I need to spend time with God about so he can                                                                                         change things inside of me?

APPLICATION                       What do I need to do to make this part of my own regular lifestyle?

TEAM INVOLVEMENT      What do I need from the members of my team OR from others to help                                                                me get this happening in my own normal life experience?

ACCOUNTABILITY              What question(s) should I be asked next time we meet that                                                                                   would hold me accountable for the actions I have decided to                                                                                 take.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN OTHERWISE UNKNOWN FIG TREE

The search for rocks that might contain gold has stirred the hearts of those who wanted to make their fortune.

When people want to discover gold they look for land formations and do all kinds of testing for the kinds of rock formations that are most likely to contain gold.  This was followed by various kinds of core testing and assay.  The key to finding gold or any other mineral for that matter is finding the environment where it is likely to occur and then going to work to discover exactly where it is.

The Bible is similarly an environment where God can be discovered. Too bad that we approach Bible reading so subjective that our capacity to discover and deepen our relationship with God is too often narrowed to the point of religious ritual. The power of the Word of God has never belonged to the professionals but to those who search for God.

The attached Power Point file models an approach to a passage of Scripture [Mark 11] A Day in the Life of a Fig Tree PDF versiondesigned to discover what God is saying to everyone, everyday just from understanding what has been written there for us.  I would love you to have a go at this for yourself with this passage or any other passage.  What you will find is that when you start out to simply take notice of every word that God has caused to be written and to allow that to shape your understanding of what God is saying, you will discover God’s presence in a new way.  Here are the steps involved in that process.

 

1.  Identify every piece of new information in a portion that is complete in itself – i.e. not just a verse on its own but a naturally defined section.

2.  Underline or circle the word in each of these pieces that represents the core of the new information.

3.  Find answers for anything you don’t know or don’t understand.  Go research for dates, times, places and people.

4.  Re-state each idea in your own words with a simple phrase or sentence.

5.  On the basis of your understanding of the whole section, write down everything you think God is saying – check your answers by making sure that your conclusion can be verified from the information in the passage itself, not from somewhere else.

6.  If God has said these things what needs to change in your own life for them to be part of your experience?  Make these things a matter of committed prayer.

7.  What would happen through you in one of more of the spheres where you live or work if what God had said was fulfilled.  What do you need to DO in order to be an agent for that work of God?  Make these things a matter of obedience.

 

A Day in the Life of a Fig Tree PDF version


LIFE STREAM ‘SAS-ROAD TEST’

We have developed a discipleship tool called LIFE STREAM.

  1. LIFE STREAM is designed to help people learn to do four things will:  hear from God through the Bible, process what they hear with God through prayer and worship, apply what they have heard in their daily life and learn to work with others to be mutually accountable for the process and the result.
  2. LIFE STREAM is also designed to be a tool that can work anywhere and at any time under any circumstances.  We want to learn to do disciple-making as part of our lifestyle, not just in the more traditional slots (e.g. as have been taken by home groups).  So in this “SAS-road test” we would love people to adopt a place and time that was part of the flow of normal life and to successfully carve out 30 minutes or a few minutes more that was given to checking in, sharing and praying and getting back on the road.
  3. LIFE STREAM is designed to work at any level.  It does not presume any specific background or experience.  These four skills could be likened to the trade skill of laying bricks.  You only learn to lay bricks by watching others and you can start learning to lay bricks from the very first session. Hearing from God, prayer and worship, application to lifestyle and team work are all things that you can do at some level from day one – and they will be things you need to be still doing on day-last.  Hopefully a person will get better at it the more they do it like a brickie should get better.  Hopefully you will pick up some tricks of the trade by hanging out with others who have been doing it for longer.  All of these things are part of Christian discipleship and disciple-making.
  4. In this LIFE STREAM SAS-ROAD TEST we are trying to bust through the default of just “doing Bible Study” the way we have become accustomed- looking at the information, talking about the information, giving our opinions about the information and then going home and seeing very little change because we have never gone beyond information to revelation.  We will be trying to do this through becoming accountable to each other (those who will be meeting together in little groups of two or three) and as a whole group (by logging our experiences on the LIFE STREAM SAS BLOG (http://www.brianmedway.com.au/lifestream  [a copy of this is up there right now]

 

HOW WE WILL WORK IT FROM HERE

Over the next few days I will be in touch with you to work out how the “teams/groups” will connect.  I have a list of names of people who are willing to have a go at this and we will just need to work out the best way to connect.  There is no gib deal about this.  You could find your own person or persons to link up with if you would prefer it that way.  We will keep connecting through email, SMS and the blog. We will put up anything that is proving to be helpful and telling any stories that are worth telling because of the encouragement or insight value.

 

FEEDBACK IS ESSENTIAL HERE

We are not just working for ourselves but for others who will use this tool (or its modified form) in order to make disciples.  We are not looking for certain kinds of feedback.  We are looking for any genuine feedback – the good, the bad and the ugly.  The issue here is creating a discipleship tool not being afraid to say something that might be risky.  Nothing is sacred except the nature and purpose of God through his Son.

 

Once again thanks for enlisting in this important venture.

 

 

Brian

IN MELBOURNE TONIGHT

In Melbourne Tonight

No, Graham Kennedy has not risen from the dead but Dan Armstrong and I are spending the second of two nights in the southern state.  Just think about it,  our first night here was the night of the final State of Origin battle – but I guess the result meant that we were saved from the torture of having to watch the Blues go down again.

 

Rachel (Horne, who covers both Crosslink and Grace admin in Canberra) dubbed these three days as a Crosslink Regional Catch-Up.  That’s pretty much what it has been.  I asked Dan Armstrong to join me on this trip.  It has proved to be a wonderful time and Dan’s loving and encouraging ways have blessed all of the Crosslink leaders we have met with.  We have had meetings in Footscray (inner west), Moe (southern Gippsland), Rowville (south east) and Geelong.  We have been meeting with Crosslink Pastors, their families and some of their leaders.  It is the second installment of the same work that I began when I came down for one day only last week. We will have spent time with almost all of the leaders plus some who are in the process of joining.

 

The benefit is to get a chance to listen to and speak with the leaders on or near their home turf.  Crosslink involves a very wide range of types of churches and ministries.  Tonight, for example, we were treated to some great stories from Barry Fletcher who has been running a chaplaincy ministry for people who work in one of the thirteen circuses that travel around Australia. In that time he has seen some three thousand people come to Christ.  He has established children’s ministry among the children of circus families and then “Church Under the Big Top” where he has seen crowds of up to 1800 people gathering in the same tent where the circus acts are performed.  He was telling us that one day he did a church service in the morning, had a wedding at 1:00 pm before the matinee session of the circus started at 2:30pm.

 

Moe (ex) Police Cells aka. Back of Moe Hope Church

Last night we were at Moe.  John and Trish Ellerton pastor a church there called Moe Hope.  (every time I read it I think it says “Mohope”)  They told us about a dispute they had to deal with in their church:  the church owned three tambourines.  One red one and two different other colours.  Two ladies were always vying to get the red one, so they used to go to all kinds of  lengths to make sure they would have it.  In the end they almost came to blows over it and soon afterwards one of them left the church because of the dissatisfaction she felt for not being able to use the red one.  Have got problems?

John and Trish took us to see their new church building.  They bought the old Moe Police Station.  Among all kinds of interesting features is a genuine wired-in exercise area with two genuine cell.  I reckon its got great potential.  It anyone mucks up or starts manifesting a demon or two, its into the cells until the matter is resolved.  What about putting people on solitary confinement for month unless they pay their tithes?

 

Tonight we were with Hillview Community Church who have just seen God raise up nearly 500,000 dollars as their portion towards the purchase of a new building seeing they are bursting out the doors of their current property.  Great and might God.

 

Back in Canberra Friday (tomorrow night).  See you on the weeked.

 

Brian Medway