Walk With God: Moments

An encounter with God can change everything. From a biblical point of view, an encounter with God can be a name changer moment.

Just ask Jacob. He was alone, waiting to head into an uncertain future, one which he had created through his own scheming, deceit and manipulation. He had lived up to his name.

Now, in the dark, alone, frustrated, anxious, lost, at the end of this own options and probably a little bit fearful too, God shows up.

In a moment, with God, everything changes. As it was for Jacob, so it can be for us. God can show up, in that moment.

A moment of acknowledgement. To stop living independently, working life out own my own, with my best laid plans and have a willingness to give depending on God a chance.

A moment of recognition. To see the power of God is at work in your life and His heart is to want to bless you.

A moment of acceptance. Of the person we think we are, the name we or others may have spoken over us and accepting who God thinks you are. Just as Jacob had to answer ‘What’s your name?’ so do we. Once we accept this, the transformation can happen.

A moment of exchange. Simply this, an old name for a new one.

A moment of wrestling. A stretch in our thinking, why we are here, what life is all about, how we should live and who we should live it for.

Rescued. Restored. Redeemed. Transformed. Delivered. Made whole.

The opportunity for a name-changer moment is always available, ever since Jesus did a complete work for us at the cross. Through that one moment, our moment can come.

From captive to free. From lost to found. From old to new. From guilty to forgiven. From unloved to loved. From weak to strong. From broken to whole. Right there in the moment of change is our story, the beginning of a journey of transformation, into the person who Jesus knows we can become.

How does that make you feel?

The Cross of Christ: My New Identity

The cross is about identity. Who do I belong to?

When I accept that Jesus went to the cross for me, who I align my life to changes. Life is no longer about me, but about Jesus. I am choosing to identify with him. It means my lie doesn’t align to what I think is right but instead is aligned to all that Jesus wants for my life.

I am now found in Christ.

I am now the righteousness of Christ.

I am now not my own, I am bought with a price.

My performance is no longer based on what I can do, my works. Instead my performance is a result of believing that I am the righteous by faith. I live to honour Jesus, not through being sin-conscious and trying really hard to not mess up. I live to honour Jesus by recognising the benefits of being righteous-conscious.

In otherwords, when my life is connected with Jesus through His finished work at the cross, why would I want to sully that work by filling my life with anything short of Gods very best for me? Things that I think I deserve through my hard work, rather than things I don’t deserve yet I receive through Gods unmerited favour?

If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? [Romans 5:17 The Message]

How does the cross of Christ influence you?

3 Days to Change the World

For many this weekend will be just like any other. A long weekend, some time off work, a few too many beers, the disappointment of the lack of sun and no first BBQ of the year, maybe even a trip to the new Range store nearby, definitely some rest and a bit of family time.

Same old routine = same old results.

Maybe there is an opportunity for a change. 3 days changed the world. 3 days could change yours. But for change in life we often have to break those old routines and have a willingness to consider some new ones.

Jesus went to the cross for the world. Not to condemn it but to save it. Everyone included.

I wonder what it was like between the cross and the resurrection. Those 36 hours between being laid in the tomb in the evening and leaving an empty tomb by the Sunday morning. N.T. Wright writes in his book Christians at the Cross…With his shameful, chaotic, horrible death he has gone to the very bottom, to the darkest and deepest place of the ruin, and has planted there the sign that says “Rescued.” It is the sign of love, the love of the creator for his ruined creation, the love of the saviour for his ruined people.

He went there for me. For everyone. If you let it, such revelation could change your world forever. Jesus loves you enough to go to the cross for you and in so doing, he reconnects you with the one true God.

New results often need new routines, new ways of looking at things. Freedom from the past comes by accepting a new future. One with God at the centre.

The cross equals love. It is not a full stop but more of a comma as the sentence just has a pause. Jesus died on the cross, then he rose from the grave. It was all part of Gods redemptive plan, His way of reconciling the problem of sin, of setting things right at rescuing us all.

3 days to change the world. 3 days to change your world. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. Why not give Jesus a genuine opportunity to prove himself to you?

The Ultimate Turning Point

Easter is the turning point that everybody needs but too many still don’t understand.

Tomorrow is the opportunity to preach the Cross.
Tomorrow is the opportunity to point people towards their Saviour.

This is my first Easter preach. Want to get it right. Excited by the prospect of seeing lives transformed. The power of the Cross should always be remembered. Easier to get excited by the power of the Resurrection and the new life it brings than the pain endured on the Cross.

We can celebrate the death of Jesus. It may seem a strange thing to do but when you understand the reasons why Jesus endured the Cross, you know there is reason enough to celebrate it.

YOU CANNOT HAVE A RESURRECTION WITHOUT THE CROSS.

One leads you to repentance.
One represents forgiveness, justification, imputed righteousness, a great exchange of life transforming proportions.
One represents a new life.
One represents life reborn, a new heart imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit, adoption into God’s family.

‘The same power that raised Christ from the grave, lives in US’.

We must live a life worthy of ALL that Jesus DID for us.
We must live a life taking up our Cross, dying to self, living for Him.
It’s a challenge but one that we should literally give our all to pursue – to not live like that is to throw back into Jesus’ face all that he did for us. It’s almost like saying ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

Let’s keep doing our best for Him. Whatever it takes!!

[Tell me why you love Easter?]

This Sunday is Easter: Make the Most of It!!

This Sunday is Easter…let’s make the most of it.

Sat pulling everything together for the preach of my life. Never preached an Easter message before. Mindful of the responsibility. Want to get it right. Could be the difference for someone and help them cross the line of decision. As J Lee Grady says in Charisma ‘It is the church’s responsibility to showcase the glorious Christ to a spiritually desperate multitude. He must be introduced properly. I pray we will be faithful in the way we present Him to our generation’.

We must CELEBRATE the resurrection of Jesus.
We must REMEMBER the Cross.
We must LIVE life with both of these events in mind.
We must do Jesus JUSTICE for all He did for us!!

Too many Christians have forgotten the cross.
Too many Christians take the resurrection forgranted.
Too many Christians live accepting mediocrity, not truly understanding the impact they could make for Jesus.

The CROSS OF CHRIST is the ultimate TURNING POINT…it is the ‘great exchange’ as Martin Luther wrote.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed [1 Peter 2:24]

This Easter…I am excited about the potential for breakthrough. In the words of Perry Noble (Pastor of New Spring Church)…I’m going to do my best to preach like its my last ever preach! If you are in Darlington then come & check Xcel Church out. Dolphin Centre @ 11am.

WHO CAN WE BRING?

[By the way Xcel Darlington: it’s also our Easter Egg Giveaway…an easy way to bless someone. Don’t forget to bring your Egg]

Thank You For The Cross…[Day 13]

Great time of worship early this morning. Reminded about the power of the cross. There is no other religion that offers access to such a victory. The cross is the ultimate sign of Gods redemptive powers.

Victory over death.
Victory over sin.
Victory over sickness.

In all our doing of life we must not forget the benefits bought for us by the blood of Jesus. With this in mind I prayed for some people at Xcel Church, taking hold of the promises of God, taking hold of my mustard seed sized faith and exercising it, taking hold of the fact that Jesus said that we can ask the Father for things in His name and it will be done.

Thank you for the cross. Through the cross I have new life. Fresh beginnings. Access to God. It is the most precious thing…oh, how I take it forgranted sometimes. A gentle reminder is always useful.

What does the cross of Christ mean to you?