Partakers Christian Podcasts

Davo Roberts Partakers

G‘day! Partakers Christian podcasts of Bible Teaching, Bible Readings, Worship, Prayer and Church History on Podbean to help enable and encourage you! Come listen and interact. read less
Religion & SpiritualityReligion & Spirituality

Episodes

Bible Thought – Spiritual Gifts And The Christian
Yesterday
Bible Thought – Spiritual Gifts And The Christian
Partakers Bible Thought Discover and Develop Spiritual Gifts Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 12v1, 4-7 “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. … There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” When Jesus said to His apostles “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14v12), it was through the promised Holy Spirit (John 14v17), and impartment of Spiritual Gifts, that His words were fulfilled. 1. What are spiritual gifts? Spiritual Gifts derives from the Greek word Charismata. They are also called grace gifts, which may refer to any gift God gives out of the abundance of His grace and are given to all Christians as God sees fit (1 Corinthians 12v11). There are four main passages in the New Testament regarding Spiritual Gifts. These are Romans 12v3-8; 1 Corinthians 12v1-10, 28-31; Ephesians 4v11-12 and 1 Peter 4v10-11. The lists of gifts, given in the New Testament are representative of spiritual gifts and are not to be taken as a conclusive listing. The gifts quoted in various passages of the New Testament are: “administration, apostle, discernment, evangelism, exhortation giving, faith, healing, helps, knowledge, leadership, mercy, miracles, pastor, prophecy, service, teaching, tongues, tongues interpretation, wisdom.” As Christian disciples however, Paul commands that “try to excel in gifts that build up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14v12). When the church is built up, unity will inevitably prevail. The diversity of Spiritual gifts within each local church, helps build unity.   2. Who has spiritual gifts? All Christian Disciples have Spiritual Gifts, for “in his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” (Romans 12v6). God the Holy Spirit, through His infinite wisdom, mercy and grace bestows these gifts that belong to Him, upon His servants, Christian disciples, and these gifts are to be used primarily to bring glory to Him! (1 Peter 4v11). They are opportunities for Christian disciples to serve other people. Some gifts like teaching, helping or leadership quite possibly are enhancements of natural abilities whilst others like faith, healing and miracles are from the Spirit’s empowerment alone.   3. The purpose of spiritual gifts? The reason that the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christian disciples is so that the body of Christ is built up (Ephesians 4v12), for the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12v7, 14v12) and “so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4v12). These three reasons signify that God wants Christian disciples to be active in service and not still like stagnant water. That is why we have been given gifts. If these gifts are not used for God’s purposes, then they are meaningless. So, what is an appropriate response by Christian disciples in relation to these gifts?   4. How does a Christian disciple discover their Spiritual Gifts? As the Bible is primary to spiritual growth and understanding, the Christian disciple needs to study God’s word diligently, enhancing the relationship and building bonds. Then the Christian disciple needs to pray and ask in deep prayer and cogitation. Thirdly by asking the advice and wisdom of the leaders in the church we attend or from friends who know you well. Lastly, it is also through asking questions of your self. What do I enjoy? What am I good at? If God blesses what you are doing and it is fruitful, you may have discovered an area where your gifting lies!   5. Christian Disciple’s Response to Spiritual Gifts As Christian disciples, we are dependent upon each other, just as one part of the human body has dependence on another part. That is why we serve each other and use the gifts generously given by God. As all Christian disciples have gifts, we have a responsibility to discover and develop them (1 Timothy 4v14)! God has called Christian disciples and equipped them with spiritual gifts, and they are not to be neglected! We are to discover, discern, develop and put into effect our spiritual gifts, so that God can be glorified and His church built up! As we are not to neglect our gifts, or let other Christian disciples neglect their gifts, we are to fan the gift into flame (2 Timothy 1v6). Much like blowing on embers and stirring them up will restart the flames of a fire! To do this Christian disciples are to employ the gift faithfully and by asking God to continue their development, strengthening and opportunities to use them! Seek gifts that build up others, commands Paul (1 Corinthians 14v1-12). Ask God faithfully for gifts that give opportunity for service to God and others! For more to think about please do read Romans 12v3-8. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together. Q1. What are my spiritual gifts and how did I discern what they are? Q2. What relationship does God’s grace have to do with my spiritual gifts? Q3. Have I ever thanked God for the spiritual gifts He gave me and asked Him to help me develop them and for opportunities to use them? Right mouse click or tap here to save/download this MP3 file
Bible Thought - God the Holy Spirit
2d ago
Bible Thought - God the Holy Spirit
God The Holy Spirit Right mouse click or tap here to save/download this Podcast as a MP3 file "When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” (John 15v26)   The Holy Spirit is God, and a member of the Trinitarian Godhead. He is spoken of as God (Acts 5v3-4; 1 Corinthians 3v16). The attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit life (Romans 8v2), truth (John 16v13) and love (Romans 15v30). It was He who spoke through the Old Testament prophets and induced godliness (Ezekiel 36), and equipped God’s leaders for service (Judges 13v25; Zechariah 4v6). The Holy Spirit is also a Person: Some people refer to the Holy Spirit as “It”, but they are clearly wrong and in error! The Holy Spirit is always referred to as ‘He’ in the New Testament (John 16v14). He relates to us as a person for He is comforter, guide and teacher (John 14). He can be blasphemed against and be grieved (Ephesians 4v30), and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father and Son are also present because they are one. (John 14v18-23). The Ministry of the Holy Spirit What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and what does He have to do with Christian Disciples? 1. Glorify Christ 2. The Paraclete – Comforter 3. Declares God’s Word 4. Conviction 5. Salvation 6. Indwelling 7. Sealing / Ownership 8. Security 9. Filling 10. Sanctification 11. Baptism 12. Service   For more to think about please do read 1 Corinthians 12v1-10. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.   Q1. What are my spiritual gifts and am I using them for God’s glory or my own? Q2. How do I give more of myself to the Holy Spirit? Q3. How can I as a Christian disciple make the Holy Spirit more active and visible to others? Right mouse click or tap here to save/download this Podcast as a MP3 file
Bible Thought - WOW Word  - Heaven
5d ago
Bible Thought - WOW Word - Heaven
Heaven What is heaven like? People, both believers and non-believers have an opinion about Heaven! To some its where everybody will meet up after death providing they weren't too bad in this earthly life! The caricature of the comedians is that heaven will be floating around on clouds and playing a harp! So what does the Bible, the foundation for all serious Christian thought, have to say about heaven? Physical Place: The first thing to say is that Heaven is a physical place! The Bible describes Heaven as a House (John 14:2); a Kingdom (Matthew 25:34); Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:2-4); Holy City (Revelation 21:2)!. These are all descriptions of Heaven's physical properties! Characteristics: Now, look & listen at all these characteristics the Bible offers about heaven! Joy (Luke 15v7-10); Rest (Revelation 14:13); Peace (Luke 16:19-25); Righteousness (2 Peter 3:12); Service (Revelation 7:15); Reward (Matthew 5:11-12); Inheritance (1 Peter 1:4); Glory (Romans 8:17-18). No sitting around on clouds there - for instance: service implies working! Who is it for and who can enter? Who is it prepared for and who can enter Heaven? It is for all those recorded in the Book of Life (Malachi 3:16-18; Philippians 4:3); the Righteous (Matthew 5:20); the obedient (Revelation 22:14) and those who are declared holy (Revelation 19v8). People enter heaven through giant gates of pearl (Revelation 21:21). A pearl is formed as an oyster suffers, covering a grain of irritating sand, until the irritation ceases. Now what do you think the suffering was that created these giant pearls that are the gates? It can only be the cross and the incredible suffering and pain that Jesus endured upon it. It is only through the death of Jesus on the cross that you can be declared holy and righteous! Only those who have been declared holy will be able to stand in the presence of Almighty God! Christian Attitude As a Christian Disciple, your current attitude towards heaven should be to desire (2 Corinthians 5:2-8), eagerly keep watch for (2 Peter 3:12) and to put your treasure there (Luke 12:32)! We also see from the Bible that Heaven is prepared, and a pure place! Prepared: Jesus promised us "I am going to build a place for you" (John 14:1-4). Jesus has been working on heaven for almost 2000 years!! Jesus has prepared a place for those who love Him, trust Him and obey Him as King. He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us. Pure: Heaven is also a pure place (Revelation 21:1-4). Today we all suffer in some way. When our King returns, no more will man's inhumanity to man be allowed. No more pain. No more death. No more suffering. No more sin. Perfection attained and it is to the glory of an Almighty and merciful God, that this will occur. What does this mean now? All this doesn't mean you are not to be so heavenly minded, that you are of no earthly use. Rather, you are not to be so earth bound, that you are not tied to Jesus in your eternal home - heaven! Won't you tell somebody today, about heaven and how they can get there with you?   Q1. Read Luke 10:20. How can I help others to have their names written in Heaven? Q2. Read 2 Peter 3:12. How am I looking forward to Heaven? Q3. Read Revelation 2:7-11. What do I need to in order to be an “overcomer?” Right mouse click or tap here to save this Podcast as a MP3.
Wednesday Wisdom 2 - Proverbs 2
1w ago
Wednesday Wisdom 2 - Proverbs 2
Proverbs 2 G’day! Welcome to Partakers and to Wednesday Wisdom, where we are listening to what the Bible has to say through the Wisdom literature of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Come on in! Today it is Proverbs 2. Download this episode using this link 1 My son, if You will receive my words, and hide my commandments with you; 2 So that You incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if You cry after knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding; 4 If You seek after wisdom as for silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then shall You understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. 7 He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a shield to them that walk uprightly. 8 He keeps the paths of judgment, and preserves the way of his saints. 9 Then shall You understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yes, every good path. 10 When wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you: 12 To deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaks forth things; 13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the disobedience of the wicked; 15 Whose ways are crooked, and they are disobedient in their paths: 16 To deliver you from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flatters with her words; 17 Which forsakes the guide of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. 18 For her house inclines to death, and her paths to the dead. 19 None that go to her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. 20 That You may walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. 22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it. Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file
Bible Thought - Doctrine
May 14 2024
Bible Thought - Doctrine
Doctrine Paul writes in Titus 2:1: “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. “ The word ‘doctrine’ in a lot of places is unfashionable. They say that doctrine belongs to a time gone by, and that new experiences of God and miracles from God are all that matters. Some churches teach only what they think people want to hear, tickling the ears instead of exposing them to biblical truth led by the Holy Spirit and therefore stirring them into living transformed lives for Jesus Christ. What is Doctrine? The words translated as “doctrine” are found frequently in the letters written by Paul, primarily 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. The original words are didache (the act of teaching) and didaskalia (that which is taught). They are used fifteen times and are translated as doctrine. Doctrine is the study of God. For Christians, our doctrine is revealed through the pages of the Bible. The more you as a Christian learn about the God you have chosen to follow, the more you will be able to deal with the daily pressures of living in a world who does not want to know about God. You will continue learning and understanding the very nature of God and therefore be wise in your actions and reactions to conflict and circumstances. You will continue to develop the relationship between yourself and the God you serve. Doctrine is for all Christians, regardless of education, time of knowing the God personally and status within your church. Indeed, everybody, Christian or not, have doctrines whether they want to have a doctrine of belief or not – that includes atheists who have a doctrine of non-belief! Doctrine Matters So, for all people, Christians particularly, doctrine matters. Doctrine matters because what you believe about God, ultimately affects how you will behave. If as a Christian you have solid, biblical doctrine being practised in your life, you will be living a life of total obedience to Jesus Christ. For Christians are to hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6) and this only comes through the continuing work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. As the mind is renewed and transformed (Romans 12:1) with teaching about Jesus Christ, what the mind learns is put into practice, and your life is being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. People will start asking you about the reason for the hope you hold onto. That way the Gospel and Good News of Jesus Christ is spread. This hope is also an unending hope, which will enable you to endure to the end and run the race marked out for you. Finally, learning solid doctrine is important is so that you will be able to discern true Apostolic & biblical teaching from the false teaching of heretics and those who want to lead you astray from the truth. Experiences and miracles are important, but to base your Christian life upon them, and not on solid biblical doctrine, produces a rollercoaster effect and not the constant reliance on the indwelling Holy Spirit for direction, guidance and trust.   Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file~ You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site! Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Issues Facing Christians Today - Materialism
May 13 2024
Issues Facing Christians Today - Materialism
Materialism 1 John 2:15-17, the Apostle John writing: "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. " I wonder what you think is quite possibly one of the greatest challenges to the Christian Disciple standing alone and being faithful to God in the twenty first century?  I want to propose to you that this threat is the temptation of materialism, or to be materialistic.  This is where following Jesus' command to follow Him, take up the cross for ourselves becomes practical.  This is where loving God and loving others becomes difficult.  Materialism grips both the Church community and also Christian Disciples if it is allowed.  Eschewing and casting off materialism will see Christian Disciples who are radical by the very society, which we are trying to win for Jesus. What is materialism? Every person has in differing quantities: possessions and money.  These things, in and of themselves, are not evil.  It is however our reaction and attitudes toward them that causes us to be seduced in this area.  Materialism is a reliance on possessions, money people or even the church, as our ultimate objects of trust, instead of God.  The Apostle John writing in 1 John 2v16 gives a very accurate picture of materialism: "lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life." That, brother and sisters, is materialism! A Particular Sin If there were to be a particular sin that marks our generation, especially in the West, then it would be this sin of materialism and the worship of money, objects and people. Every day hundreds of thousands of people die from lack of food, water, clothing and shelter.  For each of us in the West, these things are taken for granted.  When we feel like a change of house or location, we just move.  The whole Christian community is one that reflects the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit.  The Church is to be a community where the strongest members support the weakest members.  Where one member of the Christian community suffers and hurts, the whole Christian community suffers and hurts! This applies not only to the local church in a local community context, but also to the universal Church and therefore has a national and international context as well.  Too often as Christians we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the bare necessities of life are in sparse existence.  Too often we gather possessions and people, instead of giving up our time and money generously to help the poor and needy of both our local and global communities.  When one member of the universal body of Christ is hurting, the whole body hurts! So what? As Christian Disciples living in the world of the twenty first century, where wealth is seen as a sign of success, the cult of celebrity is rife and where family, morals, ethics, community and God have taken a back seat, how should a Christian Disciple respond to materialism?  A lot of Churches measure their success solely by the number of members in the congregations or by how much money goes into the offering pot each week.  However, not just good things grow.  Islam measures its success on the so-called growth in those who would consider themselves a Muslim.  It is probably the fastest growing religion in Australia.  However, every gardener will tell you that even weeds grow! So counting numbers is not the best way to measure success. The measure of a successful Christian Disciple can be seen in thee verses from 1 John 2:15-17. The Apostle John writing: "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. " Also in Matthew 22v37-40: where Jesus is saying: "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." Action Stations! By doing these two things, we show we trust in God and not in anything or anybody else.  By exhibiting these commands, we cast off materialism and any thought of materialism from our lives. By doing those two things, both as a Church and as individual Christian Disciples, society will see we are neither dangerous nor deluded.  To Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and their aficionados who think all religion is pure evil, based on delusion and that religion has never done a good thing in history to benefit humanity, it will help show the folly and irrationality of their thinking. If Church communities and Christian Disciples make radical steps such as eschewing materialism, both in being and making Disciples, I think the Church and Christian Disciples would no longer be seen as evil, deluded and irrelevant.  Rather they would be seen as a thriving community of people, resulting in Jesus being glorified and holy transformation sought.  After all, Jesus is to be the master of those who would call themselves a Christian Disciple and the Head of the Church. As Christian Disciples, and the church as a whole, you and I are to eschew materialism, cast it off and live a life worthy of our God, living in total obedience to Him and reflected in the love we display for both our local and global communities. For more to think about, please do read for yourself Matthew 22:37-40.  Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them.  Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together. Q1 - As a Christian Disciple, in what ways am I being seduced by materialism and the gathering of possessions, people and power? Q2 - What things can I do, not do or give up in order to aid the weakest members of my community - local, national and global? Q3 - How can I better use my "passion, prayer and intelligence" this week for the glory and honour of God?    Tap or Right mouse click to save/download this as a MP3 file
Issues Facing Christians Today – Be Radical
May 12 2024
Issues Facing Christians Today – Be Radical
Be Radical Luke writes of the early church in Acts 2:42-47 "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need..." then onto v47 "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." 1. The Purpose of the Church First of all, the purpose of the church! The church, we know, is described as the body, bride and temple of Jesus Christ.  We, the church, are to be as Jesus Christ and fulfilling His purposes! From the Bible, we can see at least 5 purposes of the church. To glorify God (Ephesians 3:10 & 21) To build up spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:12-13) To equip for service (Ephesians 4:11-13) To reach those outside the church (Matthew 28:10) To promote the spiritual and physical welfare of all people - (Galatians 6:10) Every church is to at least have those 5 things as its purpose.  Your church is to exist, not for those who belong to it but also for those outside its walls!  If the church gets the balance wrong at all, then surely it is failing in all of its purposes!  One of the key things for churches in the 21st century is in the area of providing welfare, both for its members and those in the local and global community.  Too often churches and its members have fallen into the ideological trap of consumer-based materialism.  There is a saying that God helps those who help themselves.  I want to tell you that that is clearly unbiblical.  As a Christian and a church, you are to help those who cannot help themselves.  After all that's what God through Jesus Christ did - helped those who couldn't help themselves! The church is to provide welfare for all on all levels - physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual.  Too often the church only concentrates on one or two of those areas. 2. What will you say? Judged accordingly! And in fulfilling those purposes, we will be judged! We are aware, I am sure, that God will judge all people for their sin. That is clear within the Bible.  But did you know that there is to be a judgement for all those who profess to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour? It will not be a judgement for sins and wickedness, because for Christian followers, those have already been judged when Jesus Christ died on the cross (Isaiah 53v4-6; 1 Peter 2v24)! Of that you have been declared innocent and accepted by the Lord Jesus Christ, as you have accepted His free offer of forgiveness! However, you and I will be judged for what we have done with our gifts and talents!. We will all give an account of ourselves to God, if we profess to be Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ (Romans 14:10), and will be judged according to what we have done with what we have been given (2 Corinthians 5:10). The quality of our work will be tested (1 Corinthians 3:11-15), and our motives will be exposed. Exposed as to whether things were done for God's glory (1 Corinthians 4:4-5) or for our own glory. As we give account of the opportunities and abilities entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14-30), rewards may be gained or lost (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). Rewards such as the Incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25); the Crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4); Crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4v8); Crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19) and the Crown of life (James 1:12). Therefore, do all you can for the glory of God the Father, as you submit to the Son Jesus Christ in the power of God the Holy Spirit! Go and help your church fulfil those 5 purposes of its existence: to glorify God, build and equip, to reach out and provide spiritual and physical welfare for all people within its community and beyond.  Don't wait to do it, take every opportunity to do it! How do we go about this? Let me suggest two ways to be radical: radical care and radical finances! Radically caring: Too often people in need, are shown care and concern for a little while, but gradually as time goes on, the caring ceases. All sorts of excuses are given, but in reality, there can be no excuse or reason for not caring.  Not caring means not loving.  Love is to be for all people, regardless of personalities, conflicts, opinions, gender, sexuality, prejudice and bias.  Lots of people leave churches and house groups, through the back door, because they don't get the care they need and desire.  Too often, I would say.  Too often the church is too interested in its own little world of new buildings, new programmes, new schedules or new members, as important as those things can be! Rather than churches that look after only the interest of select people within its walls and community, the church is to look after all interests of all, both its members and non-members and within both the local and global community.  We are to eschew, cast off, being insular, self-seeking and materialistic.  If your own church can't supply the need required, then it may just be that one of the other churches in your community can provide the need! Local churches, working together, to show that churches can work together - something we are often accused of not doing!  By loving and caring for others, we show true fellowship with Jesus Christ. We can be seen to be one church, even though we are separate expressions of the one global church. Most people who are sick, both short-term and long-term, will appreciate contact or even a visit! There must be someone you know in your church you can do that for! Be caring! And on a even more radical note, lets look at money! Lets talk money! For a lot of people there are three subjects never to be raised within church circles: money, sex and politics!  We may look at the others in another podcast, but lets look at the Christian and money!  Jesus certainly talked a lot about money, even just a cursory look in the Gospels will reveal that!  Before I go further, this is aimed at all Christians, not just a select group! We all desire to mature spiritually (one of the Church purposes remember). Perhaps the greatest indicator of this in the 21st century, concerns financial giving. Giving is to be done whole-heartedly and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). It is not so much how much is given, but how much is left after giving. God looks beyond the amount that is given to the motive behind it. All our money and possessions belong to God anyway, so giving is to be in response to this.. Failure to give back for God's work, what He has given in the first place, robs God (Malachi 3:8)! The reason it is robbery is because the giving cannot be used to support those who are working for God. Most churches with one busy pastor could quite easily afford another pastor on the payroll if more people gave money using those biblical principles. Missionaries shouldn't have to literally beg for funding as some do, particularly when some professing Christians continue to build up massive pension pots to keep themselves in the luxurious manner they are accustomed to when they retire. The hallmark of the early church is clearly seen in Acts 2.  The New Testament church made sure that giving was done and that the poor, the oppressed, the lonely and the widows were taken care of.  People gave.  When anybody was in need, another member of the church fulfilled that need: physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs. That is radical church! It is not to be for just the first century church but also for the 21st century church.  It is not communism under another name as I have heard it called. Those who say that are entrapped within the snare of materialistic consumerism and political dogma, looking after their own interests rather than the interests of others. Its biblical welfare as commanded by Jesus Christ and exemplified by His life.  Anything outside of that can be regarded as deplorable, revolting and an abomination. That is also radical! Churches and Christians are to be so radical so that even today, people outside the church can say with amazement: "These people love their God because we see that they love each other and us!" Go! God gave everything so that you may life and life in abundance, so by caring and giving, you will reflect that. Be radical church and encourage others to be likewise. Right mouse click or tap here to save/download this audio Podcast as a MP3 file
Issues Facing Christians Today - Guidance
May 11 2024
Issues Facing Christians Today - Guidance
Guidance  Perhaps this is one of the questions that Christians ask at one time or another: "How does God guide me?" Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." Isaiah 6:8: "Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me." When Jesus Christ called you personally and said: "Follow Me!" and you responded "YES, Lord!" that was the start of a beautiful relationship between the Living God and yourself.   Perhaps the most common question all Christian Disciples ask is "How can I know God's will and His guidance?"  Now of course, being active in prayer and studying the Bible play major roles, in this and they are assured ways of building the relationship between God and yourself.  We will discover that are other aspects to be considered about being guided, and discerning what is God's will for you and I.  These involve being controlled by the Holy Spirit, through counsel and circumstances and through making wise decisions. 1. Controlled by the Holy Spirit So firstly, the Christian Disciple is guided by being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Another way to say this is by submitting to the Spirit's leading.  Fundamental to being guided by the Spirit, is for you and I to be filled with the Spirit and to keep on being filled with the Spirit, or controlled by the Spirit.  When the Spirit is quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieved (Ephesians 4:30), then the Spirit no long has control of you and I.  In order to allow the Spirit control of us, we need to resubmit ourselves to God! It is a good daily practice for you and I to do the following on a daily basis. Confess all known sin (1 John 1:9) and accept unreservedly the certain assurance of being forgiven for your sins including the sin of quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit. Sin is sin and there are no degrees of sin, big or small, it just is... Any sin creates a barrier whether (in our earthly terminology) it is a big sin like murder or a small sin like lying... Homosexuality and pornography are just as bad as lusting after that girl who just walked by - all are adultery.... That's one of the reasons the Pharisees got it so mixed up and why Jesus Christ was indignant with scorn towards them misleading people.Devote to being a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2)Enable the Holy Spirit to convict you of anything wrong and sinful in your life (Psalm 139:23-24)Seeks the Holy Spirit's divine power in order to serve Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 3:16) and to do all things for glory of Jesus Christ, for this is one of the prime roles of the Holy Spirit, and sadly, often a neglected part of the Holy Spirit's role in the life of the believer. Additionally, part of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, the Christian Disciple is to yield to Him.  Romans 6:13 and James 4:7 command this.  In yielding to the Holy Spirit, the body (1 Corinthians 6:20) and mind (Romans 12:1-2) are given to Him sacrificially for the glory of Jesus Christ.  Both the body and the mind are yielded, because the body activates what is conceived in the mind.  It is a total dedication of all thoughts, plans and actions into God's hands and the seeking of His divine wisdom. Being guided by the Holy Spirit is illustrated in Acts 16:6-10 where Paul and his group of people acted quickly!  "Paul and his companions went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans." 2. Counsel and Circumstances Additionally to submitting to the Holy Spirit, other people and circumstances are also great helps in regards to guidance.  Proverbs 24 reminds us that: "The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.  So don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.  Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say." We may not be going into physical war, but seeking the advice of others in trying to understand God's guidance, plays an important role in deciding God's will in the life of the Christian Disciple.  When seeking the advice of others, we should bear in mind that the person should be a reliable, godly and faithful servant of God - and know us well.  As Proverbs 25:19 says "Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot". However, as Christian s we must also be aware that even the godliest of people make mistakes, such as Nathan the prophet when he exhorted David to build the temple in 2 Samuel 7.  In the end, each of us alone, is responsible for our own actions and for discerning God's guidance for themselves. Then we also have circumstances, which are a great learning tool.  Circumstances surround us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  However, as Christians we are to live above all circumstances, while being mindful of them.  Through circumstances, God often disclosed his perfect will.  As Paul writes in Romans 8:28 - "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Some examples of where God's will was discovered through circumstances include: Abraham being asked to substitute a ram caught in a thicket for his son, Isaac (Genesis 22).God arranging for Pharaoh's daughter to be bathing in the River Nile as the baby Moses floated by (Exodus 2).Paul's nephew over hearing a plot to murder Paul, and then reporting it to the authorities and therefore saving Paul's life (Acts 23). Now some may sceptically claim that these are purely coincidental, but if they are, and all others like these are, its an awful lot of coincidence! 3.  Wise Decisions: Now, its all very well to say that we are to make wise decisions. That would seem obvious!  But how do we go about it? A great way is by endeavouring to maintain a right attitude, and asking ourselves the following questions: Have I prayed and meditated on God's Word regarding the decision?Have I given every area of my life to Jesus Christ?Am I prepared to be obedient to God? (Proverbs 3:5-7)Am I willing to sacrifice my desires for God's Will?Do I truly love and acting lovingly towards other people?It should not control me habitually (1 Corinthians 6:12)Will it cause another person to sin/stumble? (1 Corinthians 8:9-13)Does it build Christian character? (1 Corinthians 10:23)Does it bring glory to God? (1 Corinthians 10:31)Can I thank God for this activity - could Jesus accompany me?If in doubt, throw it out! (Romans 14:22-23)Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)   For more to think about please do read Isaiah 6. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them.  Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together. Q1. Am I willing to do whatever God commands me to do? Q2. Am I willing to be humble enough to ask other people's advice? Q3. Am I willing to sacrifice my desires so that God's Will is achieved and His glory acclaimed?  Tap here or right mouse click to save/download this audio Podcast as a MP3 file
Issues Facing Christians Today - Christians and culture
May 10 2024
Issues Facing Christians Today - Christians and culture
Christians and culture Cultures from around this world are individual, unique and diverse. Have you ever noticed how people from different countries greet each other? Those from Latin America, will kiss each other on the cheeks. Australians will shake each other firmly by the hand, punch each other on the arm, say "G'day" and proceed to jokingly insult each other. English people, however, shake each other by the hand limply, take a step back, start to talk about the weather and look for the nearest queue to join! Americans greet each other with a hug, take a step back, talk to each other and once the other person has left, promptly forget the other person's name. Yet other people from other nations say hello by bowing or even by sucking mouths! All these are generalisations! So we see that from many different cultures from over 200 countries on this planet, there are many differences - rich in variety and stark in contrast! And that is why we have come together - gathered from many different traditions and cultures, to both see and show brief cultural insights. If we were to take a more indepth look into a culture that is different from our own, we would see in it, both likes and dislikes and also similarities. The things that are acceptable to me in a cultural sense, may well shock you, because of your cultural upbringing. Some of what we are as people is because of the culture we were born into and raised within. Take for example, an El Salvadorian wedding, where the husband at the post-service reception places his wife's left leg on a chair, discreetly lift her dress to the upper thigh and proceeds to pull her garter off with his teeth! This is in front of everybody! He then throws the garter to a gathered group of single men, all eagerly waiting to catch it! Now if you are offended by this, it is probably because of your upbringing in a culture, where at a wedding, which is not the done thing. Somehow I can't see this happening in a Japanese wedding, in case it was deemed offensive, particularly to the guests! But just because something is different from your own culture, does not necessarily mean that it is wrong. Our cultural heritage and upbringing affects our ethics, lifestyle, family values, and worldview and so on. Culture also has a place and a say in our religion. Some cultures insist that you follow a particularly religion out of respect for tradition, whether that is nominal Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism Islam, Zionism, Taoism, Shintoism, Spiritism or any other ‘ism' which is your cultural norm. Sometimes there are severe pressures and penalties to pay if you want to change your religion, say to Christianity from Islam. Now I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus, was, is and always will be God! So what does Jesus have to say about culture and cultural differences? Jesus kept all the cultural tradition, as a good Jewish man that did not affect his own personal holiness and offend those to whom he engaged in a cross-cultural exchange. Whether it was a Roman centurion; a Canaanite woman; Samaritans; Greeks or other cultures, Jesus was always sensitive to their particular problems regardless of his cultural traditions, taught to him about not touching or talking to foreigners, women, sick and poor people. He continually broke the traditional cultural religious taboos, by doing these things, and that is one of the reasons that Jewish authorities hated him and plotted to kill him. That is ok, you might be thinking if you are not a follower of Jesus. You may well be thinking that I am a Christian because I was bought up in a Christian country and it is your cultural tradition to follow this Jesus. But if you are thinking that, then maybe you are also thinking that Jesus is only for Jews and those in the West where Christianity is the normal religion. You may also be thinking that Christianity is not for you because your tradition and culture say that you must follow another religion. I am a Christian because Jesus was pursuing me! True my upbringing in a country which at least is nominally Christian did pay a small part in my turning to follow Jesus Christ. But by becoming a Christian, I rebelled against my parents and against my culture. The main reason I am a Christian, is because Jesus Christ was chasing me. I have decided to follow him - will you follow him or reject him? You may well reject Jesus Christ as your Saviour and the Son of God because you don't know enough about him yet. If that is your reason then read about him in the Bible. Or you may well reject him because you simply don't want to acknowledge him for who he is. That at least is honest! But please, don't reject him simply because your culture says to stick to your own cultural or national religion. That is just patronising nonsense. Jesus is for all people of all time, all nations and all cultures. Jesus, as we read in the Bible, crosses all cultural boundaries and welcomes all to his searching and outstretched arms. Don't let culture be the excuse for not accepting Him as your God and saviour. Jesus is and always will be the Son of God, the saviour for all people of all nations, languages and cultures for all time. In John 12v32, Jesus said that he will draw all people to himself. So, come. Come to Jesus and start to follow him right now! For those of us who are already followers of Jesus Christ, what does the Bible tell us about culture and following Him. The Bible tells us to be holy, following Jesus Christ as Lord, and growing in righteousness. It is hard for us, because the Christian life is demanding and yet also exciting! We use all sorts of excuses for sinning; that is doing wrong against God and others. Sometimes we use the excuse that is part of our individual cultural identity to do that, so ergo, it can't be wrong! In some cultures, man can have more than one wife; in still others men treat women as a little lower than slaves or dogs. The Aussie culture is well known for its arrogance, insulting and being rude to all and sundry. Other cultures place emphasis on gross materialism & collecting possessions at all costs. Yet other cultures and countries, allow indifference to the suffering of the poor and sick in their community, putting their low position in society down to bad luck, kismet or fate. Now we know that all these things are wrong because the Bible clearly tells us they are wrong. The Bible says only have one wife, love and respect each other. The Bible says love one another; don't be rude but be humble and not arrogant. The Bible says take care of the poor and sick in the community. The Bible says don't accumulate possessions for possessions sake. And yet we can use the cultural barrier excuse to try and justify our sins, time and time again. When our cultural traditions cross over the lines of sin, drawn out for us in the Bible, then we must at all costs to ourselves, stop doing them! Now I am not saying do away with all our cultural traditions - just those that are clearly unbiblical and hinder our path to personally holiness and personal righteousness. Let us follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be prepared to sacrifice your cultural taboos at all cost to yourself and run the race set for you, whilst keeping your cultural differences. So, in conclusion, those of you who are not yet followers of Jesus, don't let your culture and traditions stop you from deciding to follow Jesus and running to those outstretched arms that are waiting for you. For those of us who are already followers of Jesus and believe in him for our salvation, let us stop using our cultural traditions as excuses for sinning. Repent of any attitude, behaviour or action that causes you to sin. Right mouse click or tap here to save this Podcast as a MP3.
Issues Facing Christians Today - Chocolate Christianity!
May 9 2024
Issues Facing Christians Today - Chocolate Christianity!
How not to be a Chocolate Christian or How to change Ch-rch to Church! Have you ever noticed that chocolate melts under pressure & heat? If you haven't, take a piece of chocolate and hold it between your fingers! It will soon melt!  If you are a Christian, you need to be active in your local church so that you don't melt under pressure and you will remain firm in your faith!  Otherwise you will be a chocolate Christian who easily gives up under the stress and pressure of every day life!At a church local to where you live, you are needed regardless of who you are!Perhaps this is you? Interested observer but not a committed Christian Not bothered Not good enough Just want to be left alone Don't know how to be involved Don't know why being involved is important Too busy But why should you be involved? Why? You have talents to be used!! When Jesus said to His apostles "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12), it was through the promised Holy Spirit (John 14:17), and the impartation of Spiritual Gifts that His words were fulfilled. The reason that the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christians is so that the body of Christ is built up (Ephesians 4:12), for the common good of the church (1Corinthians 12:7, 14:12) and "so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4:12).  These three reasons signify that God wants Christians to be active in service and not still like stagnant water.  That is why we have been given gifts and if these gifts are not used for God's purposes, then they are utterly useless and meaningless.  And the gifts are not just the supposedly spectacular gifts but also the supposedly mundane!  Cleaning is as much a spiritual gift as preaching is! As we are not to neglect our gifts, or let other Christians neglect their gifts, we are to fan the gifts into flame (2 Timothy1:6).  Much like blowing on embers and stirring them up will restart the flames of a fire!  To do this, as Christians, we are to employ the gifts faithfully and by asking God to continue their development, strengthening and for opportunities to use them! Seek gifts that build up others, commands Paul (1 Corinthians 14:1-12). Ask God faithfully for gifts that give opportunity for service to God and others! Why?  We are dependent on each other As Christians, we are dependent upon each other, just as one part of the human body has dependence on another part.  That is why we serve each other and use the gifts generously given by God.  As all Christians have gifts, we have a responsibility to discover and develop them (1 Timothy 4:14)!  God has called Christians and equipped them with spiritual gifts, and they are not to be neglected! You are a member of the body of Jesus Christ the church! If you are not being active that means the Church body is affected aversely! Its like a part of your body failing to do as it should! Why? Improve your serve! They are opportunities for Christians to serve other people.  Some gifts like teaching, helping or leadership quite possibly are enhancements of natural abilities whilst others like faith, healing and miracles are from the Spirit's empowerment alone.In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus intimates that those who follow Him, will be judged according to all that they have been given stewardship of!  This includes things such as Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-10), acts of service (Galatians 5:13) and material possessions (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)! These are used to accomplish three other items of Stewardship: mission, message and people. Why? To follow Jesus The Christian life is not to be static or inactive - it was never meant to be!  The Christian life is to be dynamic! It is to be active.  The word servant is key in Scripture.  It is used at least 500 times in its various derivatives. When a Christian serves, God's honour is released.  This is done because service shows the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ to those being served and to those watching.  That is to be our motive for service.  Serving is never to be about what you and I can get out of it.  When that is the motive, God is not glorified. God's glory, honour and supremacy are to be the goal of a Christian's life.  Spiritual growth comes from serving rather than being served.  This is because what ever is given in service of God and others, your faith grows and Jesus Christ gives back even more. Jesus speaking in Matthew 25:15-30 tells of the rewards for faithful service and the penalties for being faithless.  Serving others is a sign that you are trusting in and having faith in God.  It's a visible aspect of your invisible faith.  Service is the outward expression of your inner beliefs. Serving is an outward expression of your inner faith - an external working out of your inner salvation. Serving God and others is the mark of a spiritually mature (or spiritually maturing) Christian and through service, the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ, is reflected in our lives.  "For Jesus Christ, came to serve and give his very life for others" (Mark 10:45).  As Christians we are to be as Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:5) and to serve.  Yet if we are honest, we sometimes feel incapable, just as Moses did (Exodus 3).  When the church is built up, unity will inevitably prevail and be built up. GO! So if you find you are currently inactive in your local church, then please go and make yourself available to serve there!  Ask your pastor or church leader how you can help out! By doing so, and submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit who indwells you, the lives of other people could be changed for God's greater glory because of your acts of service and worship. Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.
Wednesday Wisdom 1 - Proverbs 1
May 8 2024
Wednesday Wisdom 1 - Proverbs 1
Wednesday Wisdom Proverbs 1 G’day! Welcome to Partakers and to Wednesday Wisdom, where we are listening to what the Bible has to say through the Wisdom literature of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Come on in! Today it is Proverbs 1. Download this episode using this link 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain to wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace to your head, and chains about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, consent You not. 11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay waiting for blood, let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause: 12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 14 Cast in your lot among us; let us all have one purse: 15 My son, walk not you in the way with them; refrain your foot from their path: 16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. 18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which takes away the life of the owners thereof. 20 Wisdom cries without; she utters her voice in the streets: 21 She cries in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she utters her words, saying, 22 How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit to you, I will make known my words to you. 24 Because I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But you have set at nothing all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes; 27 When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish comes upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But who ever gives head to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file
Issues Facing Christians Today - Individualism
May 8 2024
Issues Facing Christians Today - Individualism
Individualism  The Apostle Paul writing in Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." And finally, the Apostle Peter writing in 1 Peter 5:5-6 "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." Individualism Contrast those values to those of the twenty first century society, where morality can be summed up in this kind of attitude: "The more you care for others, the more they will care for you."  So look after the interests of others and you will also be looked after. In other words everyone is on level parity and there is total equality within society.  In some of the more narcissistic and cynical parts of society, there is no other, the order is "me, me and more me and I am far more important and higher than anyone else".  Individualism is where the individual's importance is placed higher than all others and is imbued with self-reliance and personal independence.  Even when help and compassion are offered, so often there are strings attached and hoops to be jumped through. If you do this, we will do this for you.  And sadly, it is not just within society that this exists, but also within the church and amongst Christians. It is as if we are denying the basic rule of compassion and mercy, which dictates that we are to be serving others, because they are also humans created in the image of God, loved by God and so should be loved unconditionally by those who proclaim to be God's people - the Church. Denying that basic need to others is pure unadulterated selfishness and places others below our own selves. Individualism within the church, lends itself to hypocritical behaviour and attitudes, which are inconsistent with Scripture and behaviour.  Individualism, where you as an individual are placed at the front of the queue, is not loving others and not considering others higher than yourself.  It certainly could not be construed as serving other people to always place your own desires above all others. There is an old acronym JOY - Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Relationship The basic aspect of love is that it involves relationship, so therefore there must be more than one person involved.  God is love, and is a trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  If God were not Trinity then God could not also be love. The church community is meant to be a radical community of service and love, which is a reflection of the Trinitarian God.  Being part of a radical community of service and love would mean the Church going back to basics.  The Church needs individuals to be living radical lifestyles of devotion to Jesus Christ, engaging with the culture, counting the cost of discipleship and reflecting true humanity.  But being an individual in community involves much more than merely being an individual in isolation.  Christians are to be involved within communities, and not as isolationists.  So what does a radical Christian community of individuals look like? Creative Community Firstly, the church needs to be a community that is seen to be radical by the surrounding society.  At Pentecost, the church began when the Holy Spirit filled the Disciples (Acts 2v4).  This momentous occasion started the Discipleship process of how Christians were to live as God's people.  The hallmarks of this community were commitment and transformation.  This community was radical. It was where people's lives were being changed as the Holy Spirit filled them.  Instead of being a withdrawn people filled with fear of retribution from the Roman government and Jewish leaders, they became a people filled with boldness and joy.  The New Testament church grew by being a radical community imbued with radical individuals engaging with others. The very existence of the church today is proof that Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead, for if He did not, those who were His disciples would have disbanded and gone back to their old lifestyle and the Holy Spirit would not have come. Creatively Radical If we want the church of today to grow then we need to be building a strong community of faith.  A community, which involves joining together isolated and solitary individuals and where people are imbued with love, valued and are showing care to each other, in particular the frail, elderly and young, with what the theologian Jürgen Moltmann calls a "creative passion for the impossible."  An inherent human need is the need to belong, and by fulfilling relational needs, the radical Church community will become relevant to the people within it.  It will then also become relevant to those who are on the outside and looking in. For example, by using virtual reality, digital space and social networks, the housebound and geographically isolated peoples can also be included and cared for. This involves improving present societal conditions, rather than remaining a conservative community, which merely repairs the status quo.  In doing this, today's church will be emulating characteristics of the early church (Acts 2v44-45).  As individuals Christians were added to the church, discipline helped ensure that the community was being seen as a holy community.  We see in the early church as recorded in the Book of Acts, that to be excommunicated from the community for gross sin, was a severe punishment.  However church discipline is not primarily about punishment, but rather a formative and corrective service as part of Discipleship.  Church community discipline is foundational to the making of Christian Disciples, because it concerns the community's spiritual health, and strengthens the bonds with the local community. Committed Community The church must be a community of committed individual Christians, willing to radically follow God in lifestyle and behaviour.  Being holy for the Christian means radically exhibiting love for God and others.   It is by being seen as different from the surrounding society, that the church community will grow.  Often when prayers are said, it is within the perception of the individual pray-er of what the answer to that prayer will be!  It is as if the answer is there, we are just waiting for God to confirm our presupposition.  When, in fact, prayer is to be where God is answering the prayers in His own way and timing - often unexpectedly!  By the church community and Christian individuals thinking and acting creatively, many more people would be seeing God in action.  Instead of independence, one of the prime hallmarks of being a follower of Jesus Christ is the need to be dependent on others as well as being dependable. This is imbued within the story of Jesus Christ washing His disciples feet. Transformed Community The Church community is to be actively engaged in radically helping people to be transformed and not merely happy.  Transformation is a powerful witness to the power of God and shows the relevancy of God and His people.  The best way to show this transformation is for the Church leadership to set the example, and show a way forward.  Good leadership has good accountability to each other and to the whole Church community.  If the church leaders are displaying a transparent life of creatively loving God and others, then the individual Christians within those churches will also seek to be transparently loving God and other people.  The media love to report when a Church and/or Church leader has done something inherently wrong Finally, Jesus recommends that those who follow Him be wise like serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10v16b).  This means that we are to be skilful and shrewd in making decisions that are characterised by intelligence, patience and shrewdness.  Additionally, we are to be gentle and harmless, like doves.  This would make our church leaders and us accountable to live a life of integrity worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1v27). This is a life, which is seen to be as holy and blameless.  In order to do this, we need to depend on the Holy Spirit for strength and caring for others is a vital necessity for you and I.  By relying on the Holy Spirit who indwells us, we are therefore perpetually connected to Jesus Christ, who is after all, the Head of the church community who are His bride. The antidote to individualism is the continual creation of radical communities of transformed individual Christians, willing to be totally devoted to God, and each other and being sustained by the Holy Spirit who indwells, empowers, comforts, transforms, sustains and guides!  By being radical communities thinking and acting creatively, we will be reflecting a creative Trinitarian God, and the Church will fulfil her bridal mandate of faithfully serving Jesus Christ, in submission to God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus in Matthew 5v43-45 gloriously explains how to do this: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." And then to verse 48 "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." Now that is the key to radically transformed communities and the antidote to individualism! For more to think about please do ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them.  Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together. Q1. What in my life could I change, so that the focus is away from myself and onto helping others? Q2. How can my church and I reflect the Trinitarian God by being creatively loving, transforming and serving? Q3. How can I help my church be more relevant in the community where it is located? Right mouse click or tap here to save/download this audio Podcast as a MP3 file
Psalm On Demand - Psalm 83
May 7 2024
Psalm On Demand - Psalm 83
Psalm 83 A song. A Psalm by Asaph. 83:1 God, don’t keep silent. Don’t keep silent, and don’t be still, God. 83:2 For, behold, your enemies are stirred up. Those who hate you have lifted up their heads. 83:3 They conspire with cunning against your people. They plot against your cherished ones. 83:4 “Come,” they say, “and let’s destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” 83:5 For they have conspired together with one mind. They form an alliance against you. 83:6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagrites; 83:7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 83:8 Assyria also is joined with them. They have helped the children of Lot. Selah. 83:9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the river Kishon; 83:10 who perished at Endor, who became as dung for the earth. 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb; yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna; 83:12 who said, “Let us take possession of God’s pasturelands.” 83:13 My God, make them like tumbleweed; like chaff before the wind. 83:14 As the fire that burns the forest, as the flame that sets the mountains on fire, 83:15 so pursue them with your tempest, and terrify them with your storm. 83:16 Fill their faces with confusion, that they may seek your name, Yahweh. 83:17 Let them be disappointed and dismayed forever. Yes, let them be confounded and perish; 83:18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth.   Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file
Issues Facing Christians Today - Government
May 7 2024
Issues Facing Christians Today - Government
Government   In the UK, when we have a General Election, that is where people vote for their political representatives. After al the votes are counted there will be a government elected! This of course, is not unique to the UK! All people all over the world live under some from of leadership or government.  That government may be democratically elected, a monarchy or even an oppressive dictatorship.  Whatever kind of government we find ourselves with, we have one!  If there was not a government in place, as hard as it is to imagine, total chaos would reign and people would just do whatever pleases them, regardless of consequences and regardless of other people.  Therefore, regardless of whatever government we live under, what does the Bible say should be our reaction and attitude to the government.  By government, I mean all levels of government and authority - from local authority to federal government.  But first of all, lets look at what the Bible has to say about the function of human government, before going on to look at our responsibility to Government and our community. The Function of Human Government Paul writing in Romans 13 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour." Here Paul indicates that there are at least three functions of a human government: protection, punishment and promotion. Protection: From the moment Adam sinned, it was plainly obvious that human civilizations would need some form of restraint and law, in order to protect their citizens - form themselves and others.  We see this clearly in Acts 21, where the Roman soldiers step in to save Paul from being killed by other people in Jerusalem. Punishment: Paul stipulates that duly appointed government officials and servants are to be considered as servants of God (even if they don't believe in God!) Promotion: Human government, as thought by Paul, was to promote the broad-spectrum welfare of all the community and not just select groups, where its laws are in effect.   Christian Response to Human Government   Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 writes: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour," The Apostle Peter goes further when writing in 1 Peter 2v13-17 "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king." From these passages of Scripture we see that it is clearly impossible to be simultaneously a solid Christian and a poor citizen.  As Christians we have responsibilities to our government. Firstly we have a responsibility to recognize and acknowledge that God ordains the Government. We see that from Paul's writing in Romans 13 and Paul was writing when the Emperor Nero was in power and systematically persecuting and torturing Christians!  We also see this thinking in the passage from 1 Peter. There is no authority except as given by God.  Even to the most sadistic, dictatorial or atheist governments - they have power only because God has allowed them.  So we are to obey our government!  But it is not to be slavish obedience regardless of what laws are decreed! No!   The exception to this is where obedience to the Government would require the Christian to actively or passively disobey God.  For we read in Acts 4v18-20 that the believer is to live in obedience to God rather than man. Secondly, as much as we probably hate to, we are commanded to pay taxes to the government!  For by doing so, the government can set about ensuring, for example, that the weaker and more vulnerable sections of the community are cared for and protected! Thirdly, and quite possibly, most importantly, Christians are to pray for their leaders, governments and those in authority!  Both Peter and Paul command and recommend it!  To pray for them is to love them and it is also a way for God to shine into the lives of people.  One of the things we are to pray for, is that the government governs righteously, honourably, honestly and with integrity. The Christian, as a citizen, is free to be law-abiding, conscious that they are under submission to Almighty God. It also means giving respect to all members of society from the lowest to the highest!  As Christians, we are to submit ourselves to our Government and be living lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ. This may indeed win some for God, win the recognition of their government as well as influencing Government policy and law.  Whatever government you find yourself under, pray for your leaders even if you thoroughly disagree with some or all of their actions.  They are in power, only because our God has allowed them.  They will answer to Him one day for what they have done with the power given to them by God alone.  God is in control, and He is on the ultimate throne and is the definitive power!   Community Responsibility But just as we have responsibility to our Government, we also have a responsibility for those in our community - both local and global.  We are also to work for social justice and be involved in social action - that's part of our loving of other people.  The oppression and persecution of people is to be anathema to us as Christians, just as it is to our God!  Where a minority is maltreated and discriminated we should be at the forefront of demanding justice for all!  We are to be promoting civil rights and using all aspects of the law to do so.  We are to be working to ensure the poorest members of our community, both local and global, are cared for and the oppressed freed! In your country, this could mean peaceful demonstrations and interacting with your political representatives!  Look at some of the great reformers or social activists of the past: Wilberforce helping to abolish slavery; or Martin Luther King Jr. at the forefront of ending segregation and racism.  May each one of us, on both a local and international scale, play some small part in ending prejudice, suffering, racism, poverty, bigotry, abuse, oppression and other injustices.  As John Stott once said: "The reason for our acceptance of social responsibility... is simple uncomplicated compassion.  Love has no need to justify itself. It merely expresses itself in service wherever it sees need." As Jesus of Nazareth once said: "Love God and love other people." Some questions to help your thinking! In what way can I influence and encourage my government to promote justice, free the oppressed and take care of the poor? How can I help my government authorities to protect, punish and promote? When was the last time I actively prayed for those in authority over me, whether Christian or secular? Thank you. Right mouse click or tap here to save/download this audio Podcast as a MP3 file
Bible Reading - Psalms 41 to 45
May 6 2024
Bible Reading - Psalms 41 to 45
Psalm 41 to Psalm 45 Often we hear the Psalms one by one, but today we offer you the chance to hear a group of Psalms read as a collection! Psalm 41 For the director of music. A psalm of David. 1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. 2 The LORD protects and preserves them – they are counted among the blessed in the land – he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. 3 The LORD sustains them on their sick-bed and restores them from their bed of illness. 4 I said, ‘Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.’ 5 My enemies say of me in malice, ‘When will he die and his name perish?’ 6 When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it around. 7 All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, 8 ‘A vile disease has afflicted him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.’ 9 Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. 10 But may you have mercy on me, LORD; raise me up, that I may repay them. 11 I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. 12 Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence for ever. , 13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen. Psalm 42 For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah. 1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. 6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. , 8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. , 9 I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ , 11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. Psalm 43 1 Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. 2 You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? 3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. Psalm 44 For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. 1 We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. 2 With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our ancestors; you crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish. 3 It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them. 4 You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. 5 Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. 6 I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; 7 but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. 8 In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name for ever. 9 But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. 10 You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us. 11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. 12 You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale. 13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those around us. 14 You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us. 15 I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame 16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge. 17 All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. 18 Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. 19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals; you covered us over with deep darkness. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart? 22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us for ever. 24 Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? 25 We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. 26 Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love. Psalm 45 For the director of music. To the tune of ‘Lilies’. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song. 1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer. 2 You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you for ever. 3 Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty. 4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. 5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. 6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. 8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad. 9 Daughters of kings are among your honoured women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. 10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. 11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honour him, for he is your lord. 12 The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favour. 13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. 14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her – those brought to be with her. 15 Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king. 16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. 17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever. Right mouse click or tap here to save/download these Psalms as a MP3 file You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site! Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Bible Reading - Psalms 1 to 5
May 5 2024
Bible Reading - Psalms 1 to 5
Psalm 1 to Psalm 5 Often we hear the Psalms one by one, but today we offer you the chance to hear a group of Psalms read as a collection! Psalm 1 1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. Psalm 2 1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 3 ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 ‘I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.’ 7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have become your father. 8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’ 10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 3 A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom. 1 Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ 3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. 4 I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. 6 I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. 7 Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. Psalm 4 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David. 1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. 2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? 3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. 4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. 5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord. 6 Many, Lord, are asking, ‘Who will bring us prosperity?’ Let the light of your face shine on us. 7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 5 For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David. 1 Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. 2 Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. 4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. 5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 6 you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest. 7 But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down towards your holy temple. 8 Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies – make your way straight before me. 9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. 10 Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. 11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. 12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield.   Right mouse click or tap here to save/download these Psalms as a MP3 file   You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site! Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!