The reason for your life part 3 Galatian

The reason for your life part 3
Galatians 3

7. Living with purpose will have to be defended.

We all know the examples of leaders who seem to like to fight. I have just watched a nature programme and it was basically a wonderful film on tigers who seemed to spend most of their life fighting to be the King. If life is only about fighting till you’re the last one standing then life is going to be lonely. We do find ourselves in disputes but few possess the ability to present clearly opposing reasons in a dispute. How did Paul do it?

a. He wasn’t afraid to use words to catch the attention, v1. The amplified version says of the word foolish that Paul was saying ‘you poor + silly + thoughtless + unreflecting + senseless Galatians’.

b. He knew that finding the right questions to ask is better than simply finding the answers, v1-5, six questions in total! Questions disempower your accusers from their secure position.

c. He had found his position in Scripture, v6, his gospel of grace was there.

d. He spoke to his accusers as though they were his friends. In v15 he used the term ‘brothers’ in effect saying ‘you are my friends and colleagues in the faith, let’s not forget that fact within this dispute.’

We all have to fight at times but it is easy to spot those who are defending their position from a life of purpose rather than those who attack for ulterior motives.

The reason for your life part 2 Galatian

The reason for your life part 2
Galatians 2
We continue to examine how Paul’s purpose (the gospel of grace) shaped his life.

6. Purpose brings confidence, v6-10.

v6, The “seemed to be important” is v2 “those who seemed to be leaders” is v9 “James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars”.
Who were they?
James (not the apostle) – brother of Jesus, leader of the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), leader of the elders in Jerusalem Church.
Peter – leading apostle, fantastic Jewish ministry.
John – disciple whom Jesus loved, son of Zebedee, brother of James, one of the Twelve. Later wrote Gospel, 3 letters and Revelation.

Paul lived with purpose and in so doing he was not intimidated by: reputation (v6) or appearance (v6).
What Paul was saying was that he was equal in ministry, God was at work in Paul just as much as them.
Leaders can get things wrong just like any other human being and if you spot this, it doesn’t mean you are a Jezebel or that you are touching the anointing, you are as anointed as anyone, v11-14.
Just because man puts man on a pedestal and because man likes being up there is not the sign they are above you.
Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.

In his inaugural speech, Nelson Mandela in 1994 said this:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us…
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.

Without being rude and above reproach we do need to break free from the intimidation of the reputation and appearance of man and let others copy the beauty of living with purpose.

The reason for your life. In the last fe

The reason for your life.

In the last few days of this year I am going to be turning your attention towards how Apostle Paul shows the benefit of living with the purpose that God gives. In doing so, hopefully, we too will find our purpose as we brace ourselves for a new year!

Galatians 1

1. v6-9 Living with purpose keeps the important issues important.
See how many times Paul mentions the gospel, it was his and our purpose, that man is justified by grace through faith alone.

2. v10 Living with purpose leaves no concern for popularity.
We all like to be liked but at the cost of our purpose, it is not worth it.

3. v12 Living with purpose can be taught but also caught from God.

4. v17 Living with purpose is caught in the desert places.

5. v21-24 Living with purpose builds your testimony.

Christmas Day! A hectic day maybe but it

Christmas Day! A hectic day maybe but it can be a day of reflection on the year that has gone by.
Paul says goodbye. Before we begin the celebrations of today, what are the important things to carry forward?
2 Corinthians 13 v13. Paul helps us:
What are you aiming for? How can you realign your focus? What do you want in life? How are you going to make that happen?
Who will you listen to? Who is the voice speaking into your life? Your input is as important as your output. Are you reading good books? Whatever the input, make sure it is taking you somewhere.
Who will you be at peace with? Who is the annoying person that you can do your best to love and care for?
Maybe during the loudness of Christmas you can spare a few minutes to ask yourself these simple 3 questions.
And the God of love and peace will be with you. Amen.

The humility of Christmas 2 Corinthians

The humility of Christmas
2 Corinthians 12
We know the poverty of the story. We know that Joseph and Mary became homeless, asylum seekers, no possessions and no benefits. We know that the angelic host came to shepherds who were not on the rich and famous list. We also know that the Son of God humbled himself to become incarnated into humanity.
So why all the boasting?
Why the boasting of our achievements? What we have done for God and for man for ourselves, why the self-applause? It has become so much part of our culture now, it has become acceptable to give ourselves a really good pat on the back!
The apostle Paul says he will boast about his weakness, his humanity, his struggles in life.
He will boast about his ‘thorn’, his unanswered prayers, his question mark that never gets answered.
He will boast about the difficulties he faces.
He will do all this with gladness not with a spirit of complaint.
Could he boast about achievements in God? Yes of course! He had achieved the third heaven, wherever that was it was close to God. But he chose not to because he understood that there is more power in the story of weakness than the story of accolade. When will we?
So this Christmas if you talk about you then keep it measured. It’s so much better to speak of your struggles, your questions and the pressures you face with a thankfulness that He has been born in your heart. You do what He did.
It’s better and to be honest, we all would prefer it.

#BeLovedChristmas14 It is through your g

#BeLovedChristmas14
It is through your giving that lives are saved and healing takes place. Bob and Edith McDonald, Elim Missionaries working in Romania, with the Roma community in a nearby village are seeing God move among the poorest in the community.

At her baptism a young woman told this testimony of what Jesus meant to her: My child was unable to walk. This troubled me greatly and especially when I saw the other children of similar age walking. I asked ‘why is my child not walking when all the other children are’. In my distress I said to God ‘ If you will let my child walk then I will give my life to you. That same night my
child walked for the first time’. ‘He is well. So I have given my life to Jesus and I want to follow Him’ Give this Christmas to Elim Missions Be Loved Campaign http://elim.im/beloved http://ow.ly/i/82HvE

For if someone comes to you and preaches

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 2 Corinthians‬ ‭11‬:‭4‬
So which Jesus are you holding on to this Chistmas?

British film-maker, David Heyman, is working on a film based on Reza Aslan’s book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” Aslan, a Muslim, portrays Jesus as one of a group of prominent Jewish rebels against the Roman Empire.
Dutch film-maker, Paul Verhoeven, has been working on his own work entitled, “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus is portrayed most definitely not as a miracle worker.
Amongst so much secularism (though I am sure that’s not the motive) the cinema is showing film after film of the Bible story, the likes of Noah, David, Moses, Joseph. Some Christians object to the films because they are not ‘accurate’. To be honest, I don’t particularly mind too much because they are films after all.
However, the life of Jesus is so much different. He’s our life-leader just like Muhammed is for the Muslim and Guru Nanak for the Sikhs.

So what am I going to do?
Well according to the Apostle Paul I should not put up with it easily.
But that does not mean I am about to go on the streets to petition.
No. The evidence that Christianity is true is because we expect our gospel to be attacked and maligned yet we do not react like the others with threats of violence and announcing holy wars etc. That is a different gospel. But we respond with love and kindness as well as saying the portrayal of Jesus being no more than human is totally wrong. Anything other than that is a different spirit.

We do not have a different Spirit.
We do not have a different gospel.
And we certainly do not have a different Jesus.
This Christmas and throughout the year we all have an opportunity to make that clear.

It’s the way you are sitting These are

It’s the way you are sitting

These are the times of the Alpha male! Loud, domineering, centre of attention oh yes and a tad obnoxious!
2 Corinthians 10
It is clear from this chapter that Paul is being accused of not looking like an apostle. He wasn’t the Alpha male.
Recently I was visiting a church, not many people knew me and I took a seat to the side. A man in welcoming me turned around and said “you look like a leader.” I was puzzled what that meant so enquired further, to be told, “it’s the way you are sitting”.
Feeling very conscious of how I was positioning my body, not knowing whether to try and slouch or to hold my stomach in more, I was amazed that even now at my age I am hearing things I have never heard before!
People like their Prime Ministers to look like Prime Ministers. They like those in authority to wear clothes that look authoritarian. They want to be able to spot an Apostle.
So how does Paul come to them?
With a rage of unbelief that the church is how it is. Bullying, abusing, manipulating, spitting hurtful remarks, dealing forcefully with the matter?
A friend recently said they couldn’t take a promotional job because to do the job everyone expects the person not to be nice and care what other people think. There is an expectation generally that the higher you go in life the more difficult you are to get on with.
Christmas is about celebrating the highest one stooping as low as possible to reach us.
Paul does speak firmly. He does address the issues.
How does he do this?
In the humility and gentleness of Christ.
It means being in control of yourself and not trying to control the other person.
It means not focusing on the failure and the judgment that brings, but rather to focus on making room for another attempt at success and the resulting victory.
How are you sitting?

Thanks be to God for his indescribable g

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15
The exclamation mark: strong feelings, an indicator of high volume like shouting and raising your voice. Let’s use the exclamation mark today!
It starts here. Christmas. The gift of God. The gift being Himself, Jesus.
It is indescribable. It is inexpressible. There are not enough words but it is more than that. There are not the right words. So this gift is unutterable, unexplainable and incomprehensible. Of the over 6,500 languages in the world, it is the same. Could we find words in Arabic that best describe this gift? No. Or Mandarin Chinese or Japanese? No. It is impossible. It sits in a whole new undiscoverable language. It is lavish but it is more than that. It is unbeatable because it is everything.
Did He give reluctantly?
I have seen people give even though they really would have preferred not to. I have heard people say “if I didn’t give I would have so much more”. The head of our currency is the Queen and I am sure I have seen her weep because the giver has squeezed the five pound note so tightly, hanging on to the last second before it goes into the offering.
Did He give under pressure?
I have squirmed at the lengthy pleading from the pulpits not for souls but for cash. I have seen manipulative campaigns to move those easily moved to give that bit more. I have heard the thoughts of ‘Name and Shame’ for those who didn’t give when they should have done.

But He didn’t do either of those. The indescribable gift is the surpassing grace of the verse before.
The gift is grace.
And we don’t understand grace either!

Giving

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

Today people give but they want to direct their giving.
Today people give but they want to control their giving.
Today people give but they want to have any commission for giving.
Today people give but they want a moving story on a classy film to give.
Today people give but it’s more about them than the ones receiving the gift.

The only way we will enter into the grace of giving is if we first see the gift of Jesus.
These are the 2 key chapters in the NT on giving.
Each of them point to Jesus.
He became poor for others like you and me.
He gave for the sake of others.
He gave till it hurt.
He gave with no strings attached.
He gave so that we can give, like Him.