300- How to Mix Sound Like a Pro

Worship leaders, learning how to mix sound well stands you in great shape to talk to sound people, and obtain the sound you want.

Learning How to Mix Sound Makes a Difference!

Learning how to mix sound puts you in a position where you can communicate with the sound people, and thereby obtain the sound mix that you want.  Rather than being at the mercy of sound folk, I find it is very helpful to talk to them about how I want the sound to change.  This enables us to work together to produce the best sound mix possible, and this in turn can make an incredible difference in the atmosphere of worship.

Learning how to mix sound is not that hard, as this special worship leader primer for sound mixing will show you.

These ideas are incredible and can make the difference between having a sensational sound and anointed worship and having everybody over the age of 55 complaining about the noise!

And who wants that!!!

In this pod we explore equalisation, panning, volume, and discuss banded EQs and sweepable mids.  Look, I know that might sound a bit daunting, but when Erik and Darin explain it, it is easy to understand, and easy to implement, starting this Sunday.

Simple principles that are explained here in this podcast can give you a rudimentary knowledge of sound mixing, and allow you to take control of the sound situation, for the good of all concerned.  So come on, tune in and learn how to make a difference in your sound, how to talk to and understand what the sound people are saying, and discover how to mix sound effectively, thoughtfully and sensibly.

The mixing primer is ready to go this week on the incredible, practical and loads of fun worship leader podcast!

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/?p=5481

Traditions- Slaying the Holy Cow

Traditions are something like this… A mother was preparing a pot roast for her family’s Easter meal while her young daughter helped. Knowing her daughter was very curious, the mother explained each step. As she was preparing to put the pot roast in the oven, the mother explained, “Now we cut the ends off of each side of the meat.” As young children often do, the daughter asked, “Why?” The mother thought for a moment and replied, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how your grandma did it and that’s how I do it.”

Not satisfied with this answer, the young girl asked if she could call her grandma. The young girl called and asked, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her grandma thought for a moment and said, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how my mom did it and that’s how I do it.”

Still not satisfied, the young girl called her great grandma, who was now living in a nursing home. “Great grandma,” she said, “Why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her great grandma said, “When I was a young mother, we had a very small oven. The pot roast wouldn’t fit in the oven if I didn’t cut the ends off.”

Everyone loves tradition, including me, and including God. God set up many traditions in the Old Testament to remind people of what He had said and done, and Jesus instigated traditions like communion in His day.

 

Tradition is all around us. I remember laying a wreath at the Canberra war memorial in honour of my grandfather. They played the last post, we had careful instructions on how to walk, how to place the wreath. It was all very vivid and special to me, and the tradition made it all the more powerful and memorable.

 

Go to the RSL, support a football club or watch cricket… tradition is all around us and loved by most of us.

 

In cricket for example, we have just defeated the English in the Ashes series. We compete for a tiny cup within which lie the ashes. This came about after Australia’s first win in a test match in England at the Oval 1882, when a newspaper jokingly lamented the death of English cricket. The mock obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”. They burned the bails, put them in a tiny container, and that is what Aussie and English cricketers have competed over for more than 130 years!

 

So much tradition in sport, in parliament, law courts, schools, in families and especially in the Church! People love tradition, it brings them together, it feeds nostalgia.  People talk about the good old days, do you remember them? I don’t think they were that good, but we always remember the good bits, not the bad.

 

Tradition is definitely a part of church life, but increasingly those who oppose God sometimes want the traditions, without the God.

 

Fiona’s brother and his wife just had something recently called a naming ceremony, which honestly is a baby dedication in every way without having God! Same sex marriage is the same. Gay couples had all the legal rights of union, but strangely they want to have an actual wedding and be called married. Why? Because people love traditions. Traditions bring stability, strength and honour.

 

 

HOLY COW!

 

Tradition is one of the holy cows of all religions, including Christianity. We gain strength and solidarity in traditions, but even in the Church today, much of what we do is not Biblical it is traditions.

 

Please do not misunderstand… I am not against tradition, I love it! Many of our traditions are good, and positive, but sometimes tradition grows in importance and actually eclipses what God says! We must make a clear distinction between what we do in the name of tradition and what we do in obedience to Christ.

 

Jesus met the issue of traditional religion head on in Mark 7, where a special delegation of legal experts came to challenge Jesus. They challenged Jesus because His disciples seemed to be breaking the time honoured rules of the Sabbath and ritual cleaning

 

Mark 7:5-9 (ESV Strong’s)

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

 

ELDER TRADITIONS

 

The issue in question here was not Scripture, but what was known as the tradition of the elders. These were rules created by Jewish leaders and were human traditions which often superseded God’s revealed Word.

 

So what did these rules involve, and what effect did they have? Let me offer a few samples…

 

The Mishnah, a compilation of Jewish oral laws made at the end of the second century A.D., says, “Tradition is a fence around the law.” Tradition, as the Jews saw it, protected God’s Holy Word and assisted God’s people in keeping it.

 

This fencing of the Law probably began well enough, but as the years passed it produced some famous absurdities. For example, in an effort to protect the Sabbath from being broken through inadvertent labor, the devout were given an amazing list of prohibitions —fences. For example, looking in the mirror was forbidden, because if you looked into the mirror on the Sabbath day and saw a gray hair, you might be tempted to pull it out and thus perform work on the Sabbath.

 

You also could not wear your false teeth; if they fell out, you would have to pick them up and you would be working. In regard to carrying a burden, you could not carry a handkerchief on the Sabbath, but you could wear a handkerchief. That meant if you were upstairs and wanted to take the handkerchief downstairs, you would have to tie it around your neck, walk downstairs, and untie it. Then you could blow your nose downstairs!

 

The rabbis debated about a man with a wooden leg: if his home caught on fire, could he carry his wooden leg out of the house on the Sabbath? One could spit on the Sabbath, but you had to be careful where. If it landed on the dirt and you scuffed it with your sandal, you would be cultivating the soil and thus performing work.

 

For many in Jesus’ day, ritual replaced a relationship with God; reputation was more important than godliness. Jesus labeled these attitudes as hypocrisy. Our spiritual growth can succeed only if we are willing to have our hearts and outward actions changed according to God’s Word, not man’s bright ideas.

 

 

OUR TRADITIONS

 

Before we start feeling too pious, let’s pause to remember that we all have traditions in Church and worship. Yes, even in Ignite, we have traditions. We share communion every week, that’s a tradition. Some of us dressing nice for Church. We start with worship the same way every week… tradition again! These may be good, some perhaps not so good, and none of them seem as absurd as the Mishnah traditions.

 

I’ve often heard people in Pentecostal churches refer to another churches as “traditional”, but don’t be fooled, we Pentecostals are as traditional as they are, just in different ways. They have responsive readings, we pray in a certain way. We dunk, they sprinkle. We raise our hands, they do not… both are traditions.

 

 

Colossians 2:8 (ESV Strong’s)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

 

The Greek word for tradition is Paradosis, which is the same as used by Jesus with the Pharisees.

 

And while many traditions are comforting and can be helpful, some can also take us captive and steer us away from God! Traditions are fine, but they are hollow, devoid of any teal life. What sustains us in our hour of need is not traditions but the power of God, the Word of God and the Spirit of God! So we must be on guard!

 

 

TRADITION… THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

 

Church traditions can point us to Christ, or steer us away from Jesus. Most of us enjoy communion every week, but do we let it grow stale and “same ol, same ol”? The problem many times is often not so much in the tradition itself, but in our attitude to it.

 

All around us, people are in churches where they feel obligated to stay but are slowly dying. Some have loads of ritual, but zero relationship. Some have lots liturgies but no life. Some provide entertainment but no encounter. Many older denominations are steeped in religious traditions that have nothing to do with God, and are impossible to find in His Word. And let’s face it, some of our modern churches have the same, just in a modern guise!

 

And this is the point… religious traditions can be good, bad or just plain ugly. How do we know the difference? How can we figure out and embrace good traditions and reject the bad? The only standard we can have is the Word of God.

 

But not everything is specifically addressed in the Bible. However, principles are in the Bible. The Bible does not say, “Thou must not take drugs,” but in many places it talks of self control in places like Galatians 5, which is clearly affected by drug taking. It doesn’t specifically mention smoking, cyberporn, cell phones or Facebook, rock music, styles of worship, etc. but clearly lays out behaviour that applies to these modern phenomenon.

 

It should be the same in Church. We can embrace traditions, sure, but only those that align with God’s Word.  And some church traditions are clearly human in origin. Nowhere does it say that priests must be celibate, that’s a human tradition. Nowhere does it say you cannot eat meat on Friday. Nowhere does it say you have to sing certain songs or do certain rituals.  Nowhere does it command us to make the sign of the cross, or use bells and smells when we worship. These human traditions were originally brought in by well meaning men for noble reasons, but let’s be clear, they are not God’s Word!

 

Titus 1:13-14 (ESV Strong’s)

Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

 

The thing is man made traditions in religions were designed to remind us of God, but ultimately man made traditions do not set us free, they binds us, fences us in and controls us. Many times people choose religion instead of God, and however noble the intent of the religious tradition. I recently saw a program on notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar, who murdered, extorted, exploited and fornicated his way through life, but still worshipped at a Catholic Church, went to confession and made the sign of the cross.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV Strong’s)

For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

 

Religion and human tradition, as good as it might be, in the end kills rather than brings life if it is not based on the Word of God and directed by the Holy Spirit.

 

And Religious tradition often has a sinister spirit behind it, one of control and superiority. Let’s look at what Jesus said in Mark and pull back the curtain and see what is really behind not all but some man made traditions…

 

1.      TRADITION AND FEELING SUPERIOR

 

Religion makes you feel pious, superior and better than the next person.  We think we are the best, our denomination has it right and everybody else is wrong. God calls this pride!

 

The ritualistic washings the Jewish leaders talked about in Mark 7 gave them a sense of being  “special”, and that other people were “unclean”! If a Jew went to the marketplace to buy food, he might be “defiled” by a Gentile or (God forbid!) a Samaritan. This tradition had begun centuries before to remind the Jews that they were God’s elect people and therefore had to keep themselves morally clean and separated. However, this good reminder had gradually degenerated into an empty ritual, a set of holier than Thou rules and the result was pride and religious isolation.

 

And listen, we can be just as superior. I cannot tell you how many good Pentecostal people have smugly told me that others are “not Spirit filled” as if they are inferior. Being filled with the Spirit of God is a joy and a blessing, it can be a powerhouse for your spiritual life, but it is not a higher rank than another believer. At Ignite Christian Church, we value unity and love for one another above any specific gift.  That’s why when Paul talked about tongues and prophecy in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, he placed the great love chapter right in the middle. Why? He said he wants us all to exercise the gifts, but we need to love one another more than we love the making others do what we want.

 

That being said, do I want us all to be filled with the Spirit? Absolutely! I want us all on fire for Christ, I desire to see every person ignited with a passion for Jesus that consumes them. But as your pastor, I’m not here to be superior, and I refuse to force you to do something that you are not comfortable with.. I am here to serve!

 

Luke 18:10-14 (ESV Strong’s)

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

Religion makes us feel superior, but Jesus calls us to be servants.

 

2.      TRADITION AND MANIPULATION

 

The second thing tradition can do is be used to manipulate. In the passage we started with in Mark 7, Jesus Himself sites a specific example of how people can use religious traditions to control and manipulate for their own ends.

 

Mark 7:9-13 (ESV Strong’s)

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

 

The situation is that the fifth commandment of the law stating you should honour and care for your parents in their age. These religious leaders saw a loophole that trumped caring for your ailing parents.  If you “dedicated” your money to God, you could hang onto it and not give towards your parents care.

 

Tradition manipulates the situation, in much the same way as Jehovah’s Witnesses use religious tradition and control in teaching their people that they have to witness door to door to get to heaven… they have no assurance of salvation like we do, but the sect gets an endless stream of workers going door to door!

 

I have seen pastors in our churches using religious tradition to manipulate and control people, to force them to do what the leader wants. This is not leadership, this is abuse, and Jesus got real mad about this kind of religious abuse! Again, traditions are great but they must not be a tool for control or superiority.

 

WHEN TRADITION CROSSES THE LINE

 

People love traditions, and we in the Church do also. They remind us of great truths or great blessings. But Jesus addressed the Pharisees about this because they were substituting traditions of men for the Word of God. A tradition may actually be good and may be established for a very good reason. However, it crosses the line and becomes evil when it is a substitute for the Word of God in later generations. And that is what has happened to these people here.

 

Anything we establish that is not according to God’s Word is going to become destructive and controlling. And you can see this in many denominations today, some of which started great and have dropped away to become a shell.

 

Every move of God comes in 4 stages. A man, a movement, a machine and a monument.

 

It starts with a man, a dynamic man who has a dynamic, God given vision. Look at John Wesley and Methodism, William Booth and the Salvation Army. Look at Amy Semple McPherson and the Four Square movement. Great men and woman, great power, and great anointing.

 

This then gives rise to a movement, and the denomination gains influence and grows in numbers. But after some time, maybe a generation or two, people are just going through the motions. It becomes a machine, still big and influential, but it’s lost its edge, it’s lost its Holy Spirit power. It’s lost its specific calling and anointing.

 

It finishes up a monument to past glories. Man, movement, machine, monument. Where are we?

 

In our Bible reading this week in Mark 11, Jesus cursed the fig tree which was in bloom. Why? Is it because he doesn’t like figs? No, it was a comment in the Pharisees and the religious traditions of the day. He was saying, “you look the part, you look and act religious, but there is no fruit!” Let this be a warning to us. It is not our religion, not our tradition, not our gifts or Bible scholarship that impresses Christ. It is the fruit of the Spirit that He is looking for.

 

IGNITING TRADITIONS

 

Told you I would slay a few holy cows this morning!

 

Many of you here have come from different churches with different traditions, and I love that you’ve found a home here. Many have only ever know Pentecostalism, and I love that you have accepted and embraced those who think slightly differently to you.

 

We face a choice this morning, and interestingly this is the same choice that the people of Israel faced Millenia ago…

 

Exodus 20:18-21 (ESV Strong’s)

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

 

The people had a unique opportunity, to establish an intimate and special relationship with God, one where He would talk directly to them. But they were afraid, they feared God and were fearful of what He might ask them to do. So they told Moses to go and talk to God for them, then relay the message to them, while they stood afar off, distant from God.

 

I think we can all agree that human tradition is no substitute for the Word of God, right?

 

RELIGION OR RELATIONSHIP… YOUR CHOICE

 

God wants relationship, not religion. He doesn’t want tradition, He wants to touch you. But some of us, because we are scared, because we are comfortable with certain traditions, we choose law over love, and religion over relationship.

 

But today, I believe that God is asking us to choose Him, and take a chance on a God who loves you. Let us never choose anything, any belief, any tradition over a close relationship with the Lord. I love most of our traditions, but I refuse to let whether you speak in tongues or not, whether you prophesy or not, whether you like hymns or like popular songs, whether you’ve been baptised in water or baptised in the Spirit, I refuse to let that stand between us!

 

Unity is where the Lord bestows blessing, and God has called Ignite to be a church of unity! We must be one in the Spirit, and while we may not see eye to eye, we can still walk hand in hand and arm in arm.

 

2 Timothy 2:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

 

Church, we stand on the brink of something Mighty here at Ignite. God is unrolling, unfurling a vision before me that is the most exciting I have ever been a part of. And you are a part of it too! So let us agree to set aside the things that separate, even if you think you are right, and let us agree to love first and foremost. Let us agree that our standard is simply the Bible. If it’s in here, it’s in. If it’s not, it’s not!

 

But ultimately we face the same decision the people of Israel faced… rules or relationship. This is why I continue to remind you of the Bible reading plan. I’m not trying to control you, but if you read this every day, just 2 chapters a day, then you will grow your relationship. If not this plan, do another, but will you covenant with me to endeavour to read His Word and pray every day? Tun off Facebook, click the TV off and read or listen to 2 chapters a day. Then you will discover life abundantly, a greater life in God than you have ever experienced, and all the things you need will be added to you.

 

Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong’s)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

 

 

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2366

Traditions- Slaying the Holy Cow

Traditions are something like this… A mother was preparing a pot roast for her family’s Easter meal while her young daughter helped. Knowing her daughter was very curious, the mother explained each step. As she was preparing to put the pot roast in the oven, the mother explained, “Now we cut the ends off of each side of the meat.” As young children often do, the daughter asked, “Why?” The mother thought for a moment and replied, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how your grandma did it and that’s how I do it.”

Not satisfied with this answer, the young girl asked if she could call her grandma. The young girl called and asked, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her grandma thought for a moment and said, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how my mom did it and that’s how I do it.”

Still not satisfied, the young girl called her great grandma, who was now living in a nursing home. “Great grandma,” she said, “Why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her great grandma said, “When I was a young mother, we had a very small oven. The pot roast wouldn’t fit in the oven if I didn’t cut the ends off.”

Everyone loves tradition, including me, and including God. God set up many traditions in the Old Testament to remind people of what He had said and done, and Jesus instigated traditions like communion in His day.

 

Tradition is all around us. I remember laying a wreath at the Canberra war memorial in honour of my grandfather. They played the last post, we had careful instructions on how to walk, how to place the wreath. It was all very vivid and special to me, and the tradition made it all the more powerful and memorable.

 

Go to the RSL, support a football club or watch cricket… tradition is all around us and loved by most of us.

 

In cricket for example, we have just defeated the English in the Ashes series. We compete for a tiny cup within which lie the ashes. This came about after Australia’s first win in a test match in England at the Oval 1882, when a newspaper jokingly lamented the death of English cricket. The mock obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”. They burned the bails, put them in a tiny container, and that is what Aussie and English cricketers have competed over for more than 130 years!

 

So much tradition in sport, in parliament, law courts, schools, in families and especially in the Church! People love tradition, it brings them together, it feeds nostalgia.  People talk about the good old days, do you remember them? I don’t think they were that good, but we always remember the good bits, not the bad.

 

Tradition is definitely a part of church life, but increasingly those who oppose God sometimes want the traditions, without the God.

 

Fiona’s brother and his wife just had something recently called a naming ceremony, which honestly is a baby dedication in every way without having God! Same sex marriage is the same. Gay couples had all the legal rights of union, but strangely they want to have an actual wedding and be called married. Why? Because people love traditions. Traditions bring stability, strength and honour.

 

 

HOLY COW!

 

Tradition is one of the holy cows of all religions, including Christianity. We gain strength and solidarity in traditions, but even in the Church today, much of what we do is not Biblical it is traditions.

 

Please do not misunderstand… I am not against tradition, I love it! Many of our traditions are good, and positive, but sometimes tradition grows in importance and actually eclipses what God says! We must make a clear distinction between what we do in the name of tradition and what we do in obedience to Christ.

 

Jesus met the issue of traditional religion head on in Mark 7, where a special delegation of legal experts came to challenge Jesus. They challenged Jesus because His disciples seemed to be breaking the time honoured rules of the Sabbath and ritual cleaning

 

Mark 7:5-9 (ESV Strong’s)

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

 

ELDER TRADITIONS

 

The issue in question here was not Scripture, but what was known as the tradition of the elders. These were rules created by Jewish leaders and were human traditions which often superseded God’s revealed Word.

 

So what did these rules involve, and what effect did they have? Let me offer a few samples…

 

The Mishnah, a compilation of Jewish oral laws made at the end of the second century A.D., says, “Tradition is a fence around the law.” Tradition, as the Jews saw it, protected God’s Holy Word and assisted God’s people in keeping it.

 

This fencing of the Law probably began well enough, but as the years passed it produced some famous absurdities. For example, in an effort to protect the Sabbath from being broken through inadvertent labor, the devout were given an amazing list of prohibitions —fences. For example, looking in the mirror was forbidden, because if you looked into the mirror on the Sabbath day and saw a gray hair, you might be tempted to pull it out and thus perform work on the Sabbath.

 

You also could not wear your false teeth; if they fell out, you would have to pick them up and you would be working. In regard to carrying a burden, you could not carry a handkerchief on the Sabbath, but you could wear a handkerchief. That meant if you were upstairs and wanted to take the handkerchief downstairs, you would have to tie it around your neck, walk downstairs, and untie it. Then you could blow your nose downstairs!

 

The rabbis debated about a man with a wooden leg: if his home caught on fire, could he carry his wooden leg out of the house on the Sabbath? One could spit on the Sabbath, but you had to be careful where. If it landed on the dirt and you scuffed it with your sandal, you would be cultivating the soil and thus performing work.

 

For many in Jesus’ day, ritual replaced a relationship with God; reputation was more important than godliness. Jesus labeled these attitudes as hypocrisy. Our spiritual growth can succeed only if we are willing to have our hearts and outward actions changed according to God’s Word, not man’s bright ideas.

 

 

OUR TRADITIONS

 

Before we start feeling too pious, let’s pause to remember that we all have traditions in Church and worship. Yes, even in Ignite, we have traditions. We share communion every week, that’s a tradition. Some of us dressing nice for Church. We start with worship the same way every week… tradition again! These may be good, some perhaps not so good, and none of them seem as absurd as the Mishnah traditions.

 

I’ve often heard people in Pentecostal churches refer to another churches as “traditional”, but don’t be fooled, we Pentecostals are as traditional as they are, just in different ways. They have responsive readings, we pray in a certain way. We dunk, they sprinkle. We raise our hands, they do not… both are traditions.

 

 

Colossians 2:8 (ESV Strong’s)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

 

The Greek word for tradition is Paradosis, which is the same as used by Jesus with the Pharisees.

 

And while many traditions are comforting and can be helpful, some can also take us captive and steer us away from God! Traditions are fine, but they are hollow, devoid of any teal life. What sustains us in our hour of need is not traditions but the power of God, the Word of God and the Spirit of God! So we must be on guard!

 

 

TRADITION… THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

 

Church traditions can point us to Christ, or steer us away from Jesus. Most of us enjoy communion every week, but do we let it grow stale and “same ol, same ol”? The problem many times is often not so much in the tradition itself, but in our attitude to it.

 

All around us, people are in churches where they feel obligated to stay but are slowly dying. Some have loads of ritual, but zero relationship. Some have lots liturgies but no life. Some provide entertainment but no encounter. Many older denominations are steeped in religious traditions that have nothing to do with God, and are impossible to find in His Word. And let’s face it, some of our modern churches have the same, just in a modern guise!

 

And this is the point… religious traditions can be good, bad or just plain ugly. How do we know the difference? How can we figure out and embrace good traditions and reject the bad? The only standard we can have is the Word of God.

 

But not everything is specifically addressed in the Bible. However, principles are in the Bible. The Bible does not say, “Thou must not take drugs,” but in many places it talks of self control in places like Galatians 5, which is clearly affected by drug taking. It doesn’t specifically mention smoking, cyberporn, cell phones or Facebook, rock music, styles of worship, etc. but clearly lays out behaviour that applies to these modern phenomenon.

 

It should be the same in Church. We can embrace traditions, sure, but only those that align with God’s Word.  And some church traditions are clearly human in origin. Nowhere does it say that priests must be celibate, that’s a human tradition. Nowhere does it say you cannot eat meat on Friday. Nowhere does it say you have to sing certain songs or do certain rituals.  Nowhere does it command us to make the sign of the cross, or use bells and smells when we worship. These human traditions were originally brought in by well meaning men for noble reasons, but let’s be clear, they are not God’s Word!

 

Titus 1:13-14 (ESV Strong’s)

Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

 

The thing is man made traditions in religions were designed to remind us of God, but ultimately man made traditions do not set us free, they binds us, fences us in and controls us. Many times people choose religion instead of God, and however noble the intent of the religious tradition. I recently saw a program on notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar, who murdered, extorted, exploited and fornicated his way through life, but still worshipped at a Catholic Church, went to confession and made the sign of the cross.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV Strong’s)

For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

 

Religion and human tradition, as good as it might be, in the end kills rather than brings life if it is not based on the Word of God and directed by the Holy Spirit.

 

And Religious tradition often has a sinister spirit behind it, one of control and superiority. Let’s look at what Jesus said in Mark and pull back the curtain and see what is really behind not all but some man made traditions…

 

1.      TRADITION AND FEELING SUPERIOR

 

Religion makes you feel pious, superior and better than the next person.  We think we are the best, our denomination has it right and everybody else is wrong. God calls this pride!

 

The ritualistic washings the Jewish leaders talked about in Mark 7 gave them a sense of being  “special”, and that other people were “unclean”! If a Jew went to the marketplace to buy food, he might be “defiled” by a Gentile or (God forbid!) a Samaritan. This tradition had begun centuries before to remind the Jews that they were God’s elect people and therefore had to keep themselves morally clean and separated. However, this good reminder had gradually degenerated into an empty ritual, a set of holier than Thou rules and the result was pride and religious isolation.

 

And listen, we can be just as superior. I cannot tell you how many good Pentecostal people have smugly told me that others are “not Spirit filled” as if they are inferior. Being filled with the Spirit of God is a joy and a blessing, it can be a powerhouse for your spiritual life, but it is not a higher rank than another believer. At Ignite Christian Church, we value unity and love for one another above any specific gift.  That’s why when Paul talked about tongues and prophecy in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, he placed the great love chapter right in the middle. Why? He said he wants us all to exercise the gifts, but we need to love one another more than we love the making others do what we want.

 

That being said, do I want us all to be filled with the Spirit? Absolutely! I want us all on fire for Christ, I desire to see every person ignited with a passion for Jesus that consumes them. But as your pastor, I’m not here to be superior, and I refuse to force you to do something that you are not comfortable with.. I am here to serve!

 

Luke 18:10-14 (ESV Strong’s)

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

Religion makes us feel superior, but Jesus calls us to be servants.

 

2.      TRADITION AND MANIPULATION

 

The second thing tradition can do is be used to manipulate. In the passage we started with in Mark 7, Jesus Himself sites a specific example of how people can use religious traditions to control and manipulate for their own ends.

 

Mark 7:9-13 (ESV Strong’s)

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

 

The situation is that the fifth commandment of the law stating you should honour and care for your parents in their age. These religious leaders saw a loophole that trumped caring for your ailing parents.  If you “dedicated” your money to God, you could hang onto it and not give towards your parents care.

 

Tradition manipulates the situation, in much the same way as Jehovah’s Witnesses use religious tradition and control in teaching their people that they have to witness door to door to get to heaven… they have no assurance of salvation like we do, but the sect gets an endless stream of workers going door to door!

 

I have seen pastors in our churches using religious tradition to manipulate and control people, to force them to do what the leader wants. This is not leadership, this is abuse, and Jesus got real mad about this kind of religious abuse! Again, traditions are great but they must not be a tool for control or superiority.

 

WHEN TRADITION CROSSES THE LINE

 

People love traditions, and we in the Church do also. They remind us of great truths or great blessings. But Jesus addressed the Pharisees about this because they were substituting traditions of men for the Word of God. A tradition may actually be good and may be established for a very good reason. However, it crosses the line and becomes evil when it is a substitute for the Word of God in later generations. And that is what has happened to these people here.

 

Anything we establish that is not according to God’s Word is going to become destructive and controlling. And you can see this in many denominations today, some of which started great and have dropped away to become a shell.

 

Every move of God comes in 4 stages. A man, a movement, a machine and a monument.

 

It starts with a man, a dynamic man who has a dynamic, God given vision. Look at John Wesley and Methodism, William Booth and the Salvation Army. Look at Amy Semple McPherson and the Four Square movement. Great men and woman, great power, and great anointing.

 

This then gives rise to a movement, and the denomination gains influence and grows in numbers. But after some time, maybe a generation or two, people are just going through the motions. It becomes a machine, still big and influential, but it’s lost its edge, it’s lost its Holy Spirit power. It’s lost its specific calling and anointing.

 

It finishes up a monument to past glories. Man, movement, machine, monument. Where are we?

 

In our Bible reading this week in Mark 11, Jesus cursed the fig tree which was in bloom. Why? Is it because he doesn’t like figs? No, it was a comment in the Pharisees and the religious traditions of the day. He was saying, “you look the part, you look and act religious, but there is no fruit!” Let this be a warning to us. It is not our religion, not our tradition, not our gifts or Bible scholarship that impresses Christ. It is the fruit of the Spirit that He is looking for.

 

IGNITING TRADITIONS

 

Told you I would slay a few holy cows this morning!

 

Many of you here have come from different churches with different traditions, and I love that you’ve found a home here. Many have only ever know Pentecostalism, and I love that you have accepted and embraced those who think slightly differently to you.

 

We face a choice this morning, and interestingly this is the same choice that the people of Israel faced Millenia ago…

 

Exodus 20:18-21 (ESV Strong’s)

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

 

The people had a unique opportunity, to establish an intimate and special relationship with God, one where He would talk directly to them. But they were afraid, they feared God and were fearful of what He might ask them to do. So they told Moses to go and talk to God for them, then relay the message to them, while they stood afar off, distant from God.

 

I think we can all agree that human tradition is no substitute for the Word of God, right?

 

RELIGION OR RELATIONSHIP… YOUR CHOICE

 

God wants relationship, not religion. He doesn’t want tradition, He wants to touch you. But some of us, because we are scared, because we are comfortable with certain traditions, we choose law over love, and religion over relationship.

 

But today, I believe that God is asking us to choose Him, and take a chance on a God who loves you. Let us never choose anything, any belief, any tradition over a close relationship with the Lord. I love most of our traditions, but I refuse to let whether you speak in tongues or not, whether you prophesy or not, whether you like hymns or like popular songs, whether you’ve been baptised in water or baptised in the Spirit, I refuse to let that stand between us!

 

Unity is where the Lord bestows blessing, and God has called Ignite to be a church of unity! We must be one in the Spirit, and while we may not see eye to eye, we can still walk hand in hand and arm in arm.

 

2 Timothy 2:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

 

Church, we stand on the brink of something Mighty here at Ignite. God is unrolling, unfurling a vision before me that is the most exciting I have ever been a part of. And you are a part of it too! So let us agree to set aside the things that separate, even if you think you are right, and let us agree to love first and foremost. Let us agree that our standard is simply the Bible. If it’s in here, it’s in. If it’s not, it’s not!

 

But ultimately we face the same decision the people of Israel faced… rules or relationship. This is why I continue to remind you of the Bible reading plan. I’m not trying to control you, but if you read this every day, just 2 chapters a day, then you will grow your relationship. If not this plan, do another, but will you covenant with me to endeavour to read His Word and pray every day? Tun off Facebook, click the TV off and read or listen to 2 chapters a day. Then you will discover life abundantly, a greater life in God than you have ever experienced, and all the things you need will be added to you.

 

Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong’s)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

 

 

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2366

Traditions- Slaying the Holy Cow

Traditions are something like this… A mother was preparing a pot roast for her family’s Easter meal while her young daughter helped. Knowing her daughter was very curious, the mother explained each step. As she was preparing to put the pot roast in the oven, the mother explained, “Now we cut the ends off of each side of the meat.” As young children often do, the daughter asked, “Why?” The mother thought for a moment and replied, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how your grandma did it and that’s how I do it.”

Not satisfied with this answer, the young girl asked if she could call her grandma. The young girl called and asked, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her grandma thought for a moment and said, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how my mom did it and that’s how I do it.”

Still not satisfied, the young girl called her great grandma, who was now living in a nursing home. “Great grandma,” she said, “Why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her great grandma said, “When I was a young mother, we had a very small oven. The pot roast wouldn’t fit in the oven if I didn’t cut the ends off.”

Everyone loves tradition, including me, and including God. God set up many traditions in the Old Testament to remind people of what He had said and done, and Jesus instigated traditions like communion in His day.

 

Tradition is all around us. I remember laying a wreath at the Canberra war memorial in honour of my grandfather. They played the last post, we had careful instructions on how to walk, how to place the wreath. It was all very vivid and special to me, and the tradition made it all the more powerful and memorable.

 

Go to the RSL, support a football club or watch cricket… tradition is all around us and loved by most of us.

 

In cricket for example, we have just defeated the English in the Ashes series. We compete for a tiny cup within which lie the ashes. This came about after Australia’s first win in a test match in England at the Oval 1882, when a newspaper jokingly lamented the death of English cricket. The mock obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”. They burned the bails, put them in a tiny container, and that is what Aussie and English cricketers have competed over for more than 130 years!

 

So much tradition in sport, in parliament, law courts, schools, in families and especially in the Church! People love tradition, it brings them together, it feeds nostalgia.  People talk about the good old days, do you remember them? I don’t think they were that good, but we always remember the good bits, not the bad.

 

Tradition is definitely a part of church life, but increasingly those who oppose God sometimes want the traditions, without the God.

 

Fiona’s brother and his wife just had something recently called a naming ceremony, which honestly is a baby dedication in every way without having God! Same sex marriage is the same. Gay couples had all the legal rights of union, but strangely they want to have an actual wedding and be called married. Why? Because people love traditions. Traditions bring stability, strength and honour.

 

 

HOLY COW!

 

Tradition is one of the holy cows of all religions, including Christianity. We gain strength and solidarity in traditions, but even in the Church today, much of what we do is not Biblical it is traditions.

 

Please do not misunderstand… I am not against tradition, I love it! Many of our traditions are good, and positive, but sometimes tradition grows in importance and actually eclipses what God says! We must make a clear distinction between what we do in the name of tradition and what we do in obedience to Christ.

 

Jesus met the issue of traditional religion head on in Mark 7, where a special delegation of legal experts came to challenge Jesus. They challenged Jesus because His disciples seemed to be breaking the time honoured rules of the Sabbath and ritual cleaning

 

Mark 7:5-9 (ESV Strong’s)

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

 

ELDER TRADITIONS

 

The issue in question here was not Scripture, but what was known as the tradition of the elders. These were rules created by Jewish leaders and were human traditions which often superseded God’s revealed Word.

 

So what did these rules involve, and what effect did they have? Let me offer a few samples…

 

The Mishnah, a compilation of Jewish oral laws made at the end of the second century A.D., says, “Tradition is a fence around the law.” Tradition, as the Jews saw it, protected God’s Holy Word and assisted God’s people in keeping it.

 

This fencing of the Law probably began well enough, but as the years passed it produced some famous absurdities. For example, in an effort to protect the Sabbath from being broken through inadvertent labor, the devout were given an amazing list of prohibitions —fences. For example, looking in the mirror was forbidden, because if you looked into the mirror on the Sabbath day and saw a gray hair, you might be tempted to pull it out and thus perform work on the Sabbath.

 

You also could not wear your false teeth; if they fell out, you would have to pick them up and you would be working. In regard to carrying a burden, you could not carry a handkerchief on the Sabbath, but you could wear a handkerchief. That meant if you were upstairs and wanted to take the handkerchief downstairs, you would have to tie it around your neck, walk downstairs, and untie it. Then you could blow your nose downstairs!

 

The rabbis debated about a man with a wooden leg: if his home caught on fire, could he carry his wooden leg out of the house on the Sabbath? One could spit on the Sabbath, but you had to be careful where. If it landed on the dirt and you scuffed it with your sandal, you would be cultivating the soil and thus performing work.

 

For many in Jesus’ day, ritual replaced a relationship with God; reputation was more important than godliness. Jesus labeled these attitudes as hypocrisy. Our spiritual growth can succeed only if we are willing to have our hearts and outward actions changed according to God’s Word, not man’s bright ideas.

 

 

OUR TRADITIONS

 

Before we start feeling too pious, let’s pause to remember that we all have traditions in Church and worship. Yes, even in Ignite, we have traditions. We share communion every week, that’s a tradition. Some of us dressing nice for Church. We start with worship the same way every week… tradition again! These may be good, some perhaps not so good, and none of them seem as absurd as the Mishnah traditions.

 

I’ve often heard people in Pentecostal churches refer to another churches as “traditional”, but don’t be fooled, we Pentecostals are as traditional as they are, just in different ways. They have responsive readings, we pray in a certain way. We dunk, they sprinkle. We raise our hands, they do not… both are traditions.

 

 

Colossians 2:8 (ESV Strong’s)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

 

The Greek word for tradition is Paradosis, which is the same as used by Jesus with the Pharisees.

 

And while many traditions are comforting and can be helpful, some can also take us captive and steer us away from God! Traditions are fine, but they are hollow, devoid of any teal life. What sustains us in our hour of need is not traditions but the power of God, the Word of God and the Spirit of God! So we must be on guard!

 

 

TRADITION… THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

 

Church traditions can point us to Christ, or steer us away from Jesus. Most of us enjoy communion every week, but do we let it grow stale and “same ol, same ol”? The problem many times is often not so much in the tradition itself, but in our attitude to it.

 

All around us, people are in churches where they feel obligated to stay but are slowly dying. Some have loads of ritual, but zero relationship. Some have lots liturgies but no life. Some provide entertainment but no encounter. Many older denominations are steeped in religious traditions that have nothing to do with God, and are impossible to find in His Word. And let’s face it, some of our modern churches have the same, just in a modern guise!

 

And this is the point… religious traditions can be good, bad or just plain ugly. How do we know the difference? How can we figure out and embrace good traditions and reject the bad? The only standard we can have is the Word of God.

 

But not everything is specifically addressed in the Bible. However, principles are in the Bible. The Bible does not say, “Thou must not take drugs,” but in many places it talks of self control in places like Galatians 5, which is clearly affected by drug taking. It doesn’t specifically mention smoking, cyberporn, cell phones or Facebook, rock music, styles of worship, etc. but clearly lays out behaviour that applies to these modern phenomenon.

 

It should be the same in Church. We can embrace traditions, sure, but only those that align with God’s Word.  And some church traditions are clearly human in origin. Nowhere does it say that priests must be celibate, that’s a human tradition. Nowhere does it say you cannot eat meat on Friday. Nowhere does it say you have to sing certain songs or do certain rituals.  Nowhere does it command us to make the sign of the cross, or use bells and smells when we worship. These human traditions were originally brought in by well meaning men for noble reasons, but let’s be clear, they are not God’s Word!

 

Titus 1:13-14 (ESV Strong’s)

Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

 

The thing is man made traditions in religions were designed to remind us of God, but ultimately man made traditions do not set us free, they binds us, fences us in and controls us. Many times people choose religion instead of God, and however noble the intent of the religious tradition. I recently saw a program on notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar, who murdered, extorted, exploited and fornicated his way through life, but still worshipped at a Catholic Church, went to confession and made the sign of the cross.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV Strong’s)

For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

 

Religion and human tradition, as good as it might be, in the end kills rather than brings life if it is not based on the Word of God and directed by the Holy Spirit.

 

And Religious tradition often has a sinister spirit behind it, one of control and superiority. Let’s look at what Jesus said in Mark and pull back the curtain and see what is really behind not all but some man made traditions…

 

1.      TRADITION AND FEELING SUPERIOR

 

Religion makes you feel pious, superior and better than the next person.  We think we are the best, our denomination has it right and everybody else is wrong. God calls this pride!

 

The ritualistic washings the Jewish leaders talked about in Mark 7 gave them a sense of being  “special”, and that other people were “unclean”! If a Jew went to the marketplace to buy food, he might be “defiled” by a Gentile or (God forbid!) a Samaritan. This tradition had begun centuries before to remind the Jews that they were God’s elect people and therefore had to keep themselves morally clean and separated. However, this good reminder had gradually degenerated into an empty ritual, a set of holier than Thou rules and the result was pride and religious isolation.

 

And listen, we can be just as superior. I cannot tell you how many good Pentecostal people have smugly told me that others are “not Spirit filled” as if they are inferior. Being filled with the Spirit of God is a joy and a blessing, it can be a powerhouse for your spiritual life, but it is not a higher rank than another believer. At Ignite Christian Church, we value unity and love for one another above any specific gift.  That’s why when Paul talked about tongues and prophecy in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, he placed the great love chapter right in the middle. Why? He said he wants us all to exercise the gifts, but we need to love one another more than we love the making others do what we want.

 

That being said, do I want us all to be filled with the Spirit? Absolutely! I want us all on fire for Christ, I desire to see every person ignited with a passion for Jesus that consumes them. But as your pastor, I’m not here to be superior, and I refuse to force you to do something that you are not comfortable with.. I am here to serve!

 

Luke 18:10-14 (ESV Strong’s)

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

Religion makes us feel superior, but Jesus calls us to be servants.

 

2.      TRADITION AND MANIPULATION

 

The second thing tradition can do is be used to manipulate. In the passage we started with in Mark 7, Jesus Himself sites a specific example of how people can use religious traditions to control and manipulate for their own ends.

 

Mark 7:9-13 (ESV Strong’s)

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

 

The situation is that the fifth commandment of the law stating you should honour and care for your parents in their age. These religious leaders saw a loophole that trumped caring for your ailing parents.  If you “dedicated” your money to God, you could hang onto it and not give towards your parents care.

 

Tradition manipulates the situation, in much the same way as Jehovah’s Witnesses use religious tradition and control in teaching their people that they have to witness door to door to get to heaven… they have no assurance of salvation like we do, but the sect gets an endless stream of workers going door to door!

 

I have seen pastors in our churches using religious tradition to manipulate and control people, to force them to do what the leader wants. This is not leadership, this is abuse, and Jesus got real mad about this kind of religious abuse! Again, traditions are great but they must not be a tool for control or superiority.

 

WHEN TRADITION CROSSES THE LINE

 

People love traditions, and we in the Church do also. They remind us of great truths or great blessings. But Jesus addressed the Pharisees about this because they were substituting traditions of men for the Word of God. A tradition may actually be good and may be established for a very good reason. However, it crosses the line and becomes evil when it is a substitute for the Word of God in later generations. And that is what has happened to these people here.

 

Anything we establish that is not according to God’s Word is going to become destructive and controlling. And you can see this in many denominations today, some of which started great and have dropped away to become a shell.

 

Every move of God comes in 4 stages. A man, a movement, a machine and a monument.

 

It starts with a man, a dynamic man who has a dynamic, God given vision. Look at John Wesley and Methodism, William Booth and the Salvation Army. Look at Amy Semple McPherson and the Four Square movement. Great men and woman, great power, and great anointing.

 

This then gives rise to a movement, and the denomination gains influence and grows in numbers. But after some time, maybe a generation or two, people are just going through the motions. It becomes a machine, still big and influential, but it’s lost its edge, it’s lost its Holy Spirit power. It’s lost its specific calling and anointing.

 

It finishes up a monument to past glories. Man, movement, machine, monument. Where are we?

 

In our Bible reading this week in Mark 11, Jesus cursed the fig tree which was in bloom. Why? Is it because he doesn’t like figs? No, it was a comment in the Pharisees and the religious traditions of the day. He was saying, “you look the part, you look and act religious, but there is no fruit!” Let this be a warning to us. It is not our religion, not our tradition, not our gifts or Bible scholarship that impresses Christ. It is the fruit of the Spirit that He is looking for.

 

IGNITING TRADITIONS

 

Told you I would slay a few holy cows this morning!

 

Many of you here have come from different churches with different traditions, and I love that you’ve found a home here. Many have only ever know Pentecostalism, and I love that you have accepted and embraced those who think slightly differently to you.

 

We face a choice this morning, and interestingly this is the same choice that the people of Israel faced Millenia ago…

 

Exodus 20:18-21 (ESV Strong’s)

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

 

The people had a unique opportunity, to establish an intimate and special relationship with God, one where He would talk directly to them. But they were afraid, they feared God and were fearful of what He might ask them to do. So they told Moses to go and talk to God for them, then relay the message to them, while they stood afar off, distant from God.

 

I think we can all agree that human tradition is no substitute for the Word of God, right?

 

RELIGION OR RELATIONSHIP… YOUR CHOICE

 

God wants relationship, not religion. He doesn’t want tradition, He wants to touch you. But some of us, because we are scared, because we are comfortable with certain traditions, we choose law over love, and religion over relationship.

 

But today, I believe that God is asking us to choose Him, and take a chance on a God who loves you. Let us never choose anything, any belief, any tradition over a close relationship with the Lord. I love most of our traditions, but I refuse to let whether you speak in tongues or not, whether you prophesy or not, whether you like hymns or like popular songs, whether you’ve been baptised in water or baptised in the Spirit, I refuse to let that stand between us!

 

Unity is where the Lord bestows blessing, and God has called Ignite to be a church of unity! We must be one in the Spirit, and while we may not see eye to eye, we can still walk hand in hand and arm in arm.

 

2 Timothy 2:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

 

Church, we stand on the brink of something Mighty here at Ignite. God is unrolling, unfurling a vision before me that is the most exciting I have ever been a part of. And you are a part of it too! So let us agree to set aside the things that separate, even if you think you are right, and let us agree to love first and foremost. Let us agree that our standard is simply the Bible. If it’s in here, it’s in. If it’s not, it’s not!

 

But ultimately we face the same decision the people of Israel faced… rules or relationship. This is why I continue to remind you of the Bible reading plan. I’m not trying to control you, but if you read this every day, just 2 chapters a day, then you will grow your relationship. If not this plan, do another, but will you covenant with me to endeavour to read His Word and pray every day? Tun off Facebook, click the TV off and read or listen to 2 chapters a day. Then you will discover life abundantly, a greater life in God than you have ever experienced, and all the things you need will be added to you.

 

Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong’s)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

 

 

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2366

Speaking Life- Pastor Greg Biddell

Speaking life into your heart and your situation is the subject of this excellent and inspiring message from pastor Greg Biddell.

Speaking Life, Not Death

In this message, Greg shares his life and experiences as a missionary, a pastor, and an evangelist.  He questions the things we routinely say and speak about ourselves, our church, our families and businesses, and challenges us to be speaking life rather than death, blessings rather than cursings.

And this is relevant to all of us.  Many of the figures of speech we commonly use actually speak death over our lives.  I mean, think about it… “You’re killing me,” “You’ll be the death of me,” “I’m dying to see you,” … the list goes on and on.

Greg is right, we need to take care with the things we say.  Do not just chalk these up to culture or ideoms, listen to how you speak and make the change.  Why would you want to speak words of death when you can be speaking life with every sentence?

Greg and Sue have been in ministry since 1966 and have served as missionaries, pastors and teachers.  They now travel extensively throughout Australia as itinerant ministers.

Our desire is to teach the Word of God in a practical way, to help you be victorious, live in health and receive the blessings of God for your family, church and business life.

Greg has written and published over thirty five BooksCD’s and Charts, which can be viewed on our Products page or from the navigation bar on the left.  These are great resources which will inspire you to move deeper into God’s Word.

So if you are keen to be speaking life into all the situations you face, rather than words of death, then listen to Greg’s message now…

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2361

299- Worship Leader vs Sound Person

So often it is worship leader vs sound person, and there is almost a war between the two!

Worship Leader vs Sound Person, or Alien vs Predator?

This should not be the case, as we explore in this incredible episode. It should never be a case of worship leader vs sound person, because last I saw Jesus died for both worship leaders and sound people, and we should be on the same side.

But as we all know, when you get into the pressure cooker of a church service, when things are not sounding right and people perhaps have let you down, the pressure rises, the temperature rises, and suddenly instead of working together, you find yourself working against one another!

This pod explores practical and definite ways you can bring about peace, and develop unity between the sound guy and the worship leader.  And it should never be a case of worship leader vs sound guy, girl, system or anything else!  As worship leaders, we need to see unity so that the Lord bestows a blessing, and disharmony between the stage and the sound desk never ever improves the quality of the worship… NEVER!

Worship is so much more than producing a nice sound, but when the sound is great the people find it a lot easier to worship in the service.  That is why we need to be working together as a team, not as two warring factions and not even as an uneasy truce.  If we can genuinely honour and respect each other’s gifts and talents, and if we can relate to each other humbly with servant hearts, then we will see our worship leading move to a new level, and we will know that the team, not us as individuals but the team, has made a difference and allowed the Holy Spirit to move.

If you are leading worship anywhere, you really need to listen to this podcast because your sound person is a great ally, but a very scary adversary when it comes to the power and anointing of your worship leading ministry. Check it out now…

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/?p=5476

Speaking Life- Pastor Greg Biddell

Speaking life into your heart and your situation is the subject of this excellent and inspiring message from pastor Greg Biddell.

Speaking Life, Not Death

In this message, Greg shares his life and experiences as a missionary, a pastor, and an evangelist.  He questions the things we routinely say and speak about ourselves, our church, our families and businesses, and challenges us to be speaking life rather than death, blessings rather than cursings.

And this is relevant to all of us.  Many of the figures of speech we commonly use actually speak death over our lives.  I mean, think about it… “You’re killing me,” “You’ll be the death of me,” “I’m dying to see you,” … the list goes on and on.

Greg is right, we need to take care with the things we say.  Do not just chalk these up to culture or ideoms, listen to how you speak and make the change.  Why would you want to speak words of death when you can be speaking life with every sentence?

Greg and Sue have been in ministry since 1966 and have served as missionaries, pastors and teachers.  They now travel extensively throughout Australia as itinerant ministers.

Our desire is to teach the Word of God in a practical way, to help you be victorious, live in health and receive the blessings of God for your family, church and business life.

Greg has written and published over thirty five BooksCD’s and Charts, which can be viewed on our Products page or from the navigation bar on the left.  These are great resources which will inspire you to move deeper into God’s Word.

So if you are keen to be speaking life into all the situations you face, rather than words of death, then listen to Greg’s message now…

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2361

Total Surrender

Total surrender is the best way to face the New Year.  Each New Year, we wonder what is in store for us. Is this going to be a good year, or a tough one? Am I going to go ahead with the potential in my life, or fall away? Is it going to be the same as last year and the year before?

I believe that this is a pivotal year for Ignite Christian Church, and for each of you personally. I was recently criticised by a visitor for preaching too hard on righteousness, but I make no apology for this. I’m not here to play games or tickle ears, I’m here to encourage but also to challenge you. My vision for you is not to see you cruise through life and just exist, rather it is to see you thrive in the things of God and to inspire you in 2018 to become all that God has destined you to be.

I have sought the Lord asking for a key verse for this year, and I believe He has given us

 

Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong’s)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

In 2018, Ignite Church is the light on a hill, and we are called to shine boldly and brightly in this dark world. We are called to total surrender!  Another verse our leadership have received several times is this one…

 

Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong’s)

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 

So it is time to stop looking back, however good, however tough, and start looking ahead to what the Lord has destined for us!

 

As we face this New Year, what  can make a difference in Ignite and also in us as individuals?

 

GETTING INTIMATE WITH GOD

 

One of our greatest needs as human beings is to know that we are loved. Each one of us here has to feel certain, deep down in our hearts, that someone loves us, cares for us, and has our best interests at heart.

 

The need to be loved is at the centre of most human relationships.  Men and women getting married, having families, having affairs, giving presents at Christmas, bringing up children, playing sport, joining clubs, joining Church, signing up to RSVP… all of us want to be loved in some way. And all of us need to know that somebody loves us.

 

That is how God designed us. He wants us to know that He loves each and every one of us with a passionate intensity too deep for words.

 

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV Strong’s)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

 

God created human beings with fellowship in mind—first with Himself and then with others. But we cannot fully love one another until we have ourselves experienced the love of God. We experience His love when we willingly surrender to His call to be our Saviour, Lord, and Friend.

 

2018 is the year to get intimate with God.  It is the year to totally surrender to Him!

 

ARE YOU AS SPIRITUALLY DEAF?

 

The fact is, many of us cannot hear God with any degree of accuracy or confidence. Lots of Christians say, “God told me this or that,” but how can they know? Very often Christians preface what is actually their opinion with the phrase, “God told me…” because they know that we can have no come back if it were true. That’s not often God, that’s often manipulation!

 

Of all the people who say, “God told me to tell you this” over the past year, barely a handful would genuinely be God.  Many good people tell me that they are never sure if the Lord is speaking to them, if at all.

 

So this year, how can you foster an attitude and a lifestyle that enables the Lord to speak to you intimately as He promised He will? Do you have to be a crazy nutcase to hear God, and is the only other alternative being as spiritually deaf as a post?

 

Of course not! Hearing God should be a natural part of every Christian’s relationship with the Lord when you offer Him total surrender. You shouldn’t be weird or over the top strange to have to hear God, and my experience is that most of the odd people are not really hearing God clearly anyway.

 

But neither should you be spiritually hard of hearing. Religious people in church, even back in Jesus’ day, never had a great track record of listening to God, that why Jesus quoted Isaiah in saying,

Matthew 13:14-15 (ESV Strong’s)

Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Now, I want to give you one word that can transform your year. One word that will open your eyes to what God wants you to see, one word that will open your spiritual ears to hear Him. One word that, if you truly embraced it and acted upon it, will take the life that you live right now and morph it into the life you’ve dreamed of, the powerful, Spirit filled life your Father has destined you to live…

 

THE WORD IS SURRENDER, TOTAL SURRENDER

 

Charles Stanley writes about total surrender, “Our intimacy with God determines the impact of our lives.”

 

Total surrender is defined as, “To yield to the power, control or possession of another.” (Miriam Webster’s Dictionary)

Romans 12:1 (ESV Strong’s)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

The Greek word for present is paristemi which means to yield or surrender.

 

When I think of total surrender, I always think of soldiers with their hands above their heads, yielding to the power of their conquerors. Now, when a soldier surrenders there is much fear. They have been fighting against the enemy, killing and destroying, and so to yield or surrender means they place their life into their enemy’s control, with no guarantees of survival or humane treatment. They take a chance, and their life hangs in the balance.

 

But not so when we surrender to Christ. We yield to Christ with the knowledge that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Psalms 9:10 (ESV Strong’s)

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

There are at least three reasons God seeks our total surrender:

 

1.      GOD DESIRES OUR FELLOWSHIP

 

God loves us and desires our fellowship and worship. If we hold something back from God, if we refuse to draw close to Him by surrendering our lives to Him, we cannot know Him completely or fully experience His love.

James 4:7-8 (ESV Strong’s)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 

When we totally surrender to Him, when we yield our lives to Him, we get all of Him. When we decide to move close to the Lord, when we start to seek Him with all our hearts, He moves closer to us.

 

2.      GOD DESIRES OUR SERVICE

 

God wants our service for Him to be effective and fruitful.

 

The more we know and love Jesus, the more effective our service will be, and the more He will grow our ministry. The closer we draw to God, the more impact our lives will have. The more energetically we nurture our relationship with the Lord, the greater the positive mark we will leave behind.

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

 

Total surrender to God means more effective service, and this is what I mean by surrendering to God grows your ministry.

 

3.      GOD DESIRES TO BLESS US

 

God waits for the freedom to bless us.

 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV Strong’s)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Note verse 13, seeking God with all your heart. This is total surrender to Him.

 

God is omnipotent, He is all powerful and can do anything, but He will not violate His own principles. He draws us to Himself so we can experience His love and forgiveness. He asks for our willing surrender so that He can give us the best blessings He has to offer.

 

We are sometimes like a young child watching TV. Their parent comes and wants to take them to the zoo, but they resist because they are content just watching TV, not knowing the wonderful experience awaiting them!

 

WHY WE RESIST TOTAL SURRENDER

 

It is in your interests to surrender to God today at the start of this year! But we resist, don’t we? Why do we want to join the resistance instead of offering total surrender to someone whose expressed desire is to bless us not to harm us?

 

With all the blessings God has clearly in mind for us, why does anyone resist surrendering to God?

 

1.      PRIDE

 

Pride is the key reason most people resist surrender.

 

I remember Kira learning to tie her shoelaces, saying, “I do it mine self” and making us all late!

 

People think they know better than God and that they can handle their lives better than He can, so they keep Him at a distance.  Which is ironic, given the mess most of our lives finish up in, isn’t it?

Proverbs 18:12 (ESV Strong’s)

Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty (prideful), but humility comes before honor.

God wants us to put our trust in him.

We insult God when we trust in our own resources, or anything else, to deliver us from our problems. When we surrender our lives to God, we become his own chosen ones. He promises to hear us when we call out to him.

 

2.      FEAR

 

Others do not surrender because they fear what God will do (or not do) for them. They think that if they give God control, He’ll make them do exactly what will make them most miserable.

 

Many apparently can trust God to give them heaven, but cannot trust Him enough to give them heaven on earth in a life of fulfilment and joy.

 

 

Fear of the Lord is a great thing. Fear of the future is not. Can your trust in God exceed your fear for the future?

Proverbs 29:25 (ESV Strong’s)

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

 

We often treat God like a man, thinking He is out to punish us, or make us suffer, or make us do things we hate just to show us who is boss. God is not like that, so stop tarring Him with the same brush as you would a leader, pastor or politician.

John 14:27 (ESV Strong’s)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

 

3.      UNBELIEF

 

Still others refuse to surrender to Christ because they believe Satan’s lie, which tells them that God is judgmental and will punish them for their mistakes.

 

Jesus says this about Satan…

John 8:44 (ESV Strong’s)

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 

Don’t let your pride, fear or unbelief stop you from fully surrendering to the Lord

 

IT’S TIME TO SURRENDER

 

God always has our best in mind. He will refuse us no good thing when we gladly submit to His will. He tells us, “‘I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope”’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Romans 8:31-32 (ESV Strong’s)

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

 

When we fully surrender to Him, He will withhold no good thing. Of course, we will still face trials of many kinds, but He will graciously help us triumph over them, and use the trials to build character and wisdom into our lives.

 

It only makes sense to surrender to God, because when we do, we grow close to Him—which is His highest priority for us—and we begin to have an impact on our world.

 

And right now, at the start of the New Year is the perfect time to fully surrender to Him and allow Him to fulfil our destiny!

 

I have to do this every day.  I constantly have to fully surrender my life to Christ. In my life I have trusted many things, from my own talents and abilities to my profession to financial advisors.

 

When I fully surrender to Christ, when I fully trust Him for my provision, my future, my reputation and my blessings, that is when He can truly work in my behalf. Whatever I have to face, if I can face them with Jesus, I will be content!

 

IT’S TIME TO REALIGN

 

Is this the cry of your heart? Do you want to know the Savior and live in the fullness of His blessing each day? You can. David wrote,

Psalms 34:10 (ESV Strong’s)

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Young lions try their best, but they are young, strong and headstrong. This year, are you resolved to work harder, try harder, do your best more often, or are you ready to surrender and give it all to Jesus?

 

If you boarded a flight to Sydney from our local airport, and the pilot was just 1 degree to the east off, you would land 17 km out to sea! The only way the pilot can cause you to arrive at your destination is to constantly realign the direction of the plane.

 

At the start of this year, we need realignment. We constantly need realignment. We need to be totally surrendering daily to God, and we can start right now.

 

If you have drifted in your devotion to the Savior last year and feel as though you grow more distant each day in your relationship with Him, then pray that He will draw you near once more. He knows your weaknesses, and if you will tell Him that you want Him to take control of your life in total surrender, He will come to you in a mighty way and bring hope and light to your situation, no matter how dark and hopeless it may feel…

Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV Strong’s)

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

 

IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION

 

Charles Blondin, the great French tightrope Walker, became famous in 1860 for walking across a quarter of a mile of tightrope stretched 160 feet above Niagara Falls. He performed the feat many times in a variety of death-defying ways, including on stilts, on a bicycle and blindfolded. He even carried a small stove and eggs across, and stopped halfway to cook an omelet!

 

Then he took a wheelbarrow across the falls, and asked the huge crowd if they believed he could carry a man in the wheelbarrow across Niagara Falls. They enthusiastically replied, “Yes, you’re the greatest tightrope walker in the world.”

 

“Ok!” He replied, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow?”

James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong’s)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

You’ve heard me call for total surrender this morning, and you can sit and applaud my fully committed heart. But today, I’m asking you to get into the wheelbarrow, I’m asking you to respond by not just listening, not just agreeing, not just thinking or resolving, but by stepping out and doing…

 

William Booth said, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”

 

How great do you want to be in this coming year? Can you offer God total surrender?

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2355

298- How to WOW Your Congregation

Do you want to learn how to WOW your congregation?

Most worship leaders do, you know.  And this is not about trying to make ourselves look or feel good, we want to connect our people with the Lord in worship in such a way that they are just blown away.

The last thing any worship leader wants is to just go through the motions every Sunday, week after week.!

How to WOW Your Congregation  the Right Way

Learning how to WOW your congregation is not about learning secret tips or techniques.  Great ideas and cool techniques can help, but to truly WOW your audience, you need to offer something far deeper than gimmicks or tricks.  The ability you have to lead people into the presence of God is going to be dependent on your own relationship with the Lord.

SO this podcast looks at both of these areas… we look at some great techniques that really can inspire and draw people into the presence of God, but we also talk about how to wow your congregation but offering them a genuine chance to connect to and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.

So at the start is this New Year, make a commitment to further your skills in worship leading, to deepen your relationship with the Lord and to step out and try something new that really wows your congregation. This is a God-given, God-inspired desire for all worship leaders, not to make yourself the best so everyone loves and worships you, not to sell your latest CD and not to form a fan club within your church.  You can desire to wow people because by doing so you can change lives and you can connect your people with the Lord on a deeper level.

And in the end, the best way you can WOW your congregation is to give them an awesome encounter with the living God!  So sit back, listen to this week’s podcast and be inspired and blessed as you start the New Year.  Let’s make this the greatest year ever in your worship leading ministry!

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/?p=5471

Total Surrender

Total surrender is the best way to face the New Year.  Each New Year, we wonder what is in store for us. Is this going to be a good year, or a tough one? Am I going to go ahead with the potential in my life, or fall away? Is it going to be the same as last year and the year before?

I believe that this is a pivotal year for Ignite Christian Church, and for each of you personally. I was recently criticised by a visitor for preaching too hard on righteousness, but I make no apology for this. I’m not here to play games or tickle ears, I’m here to encourage but also to challenge you. My vision for you is not to see you cruise through life and just exist, rather it is to see you thrive in the things of God and to inspire you in 2018 to become all that God has destined you to be.

I have sought the Lord asking for a key verse for this year, and I believe He has given us

 

Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong’s)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

In 2018, Ignite Church is the light on a hill, and we are called to shine boldly and brightly in this dark world. We are called to total surrender!  Another verse our leadership have received several times is this one…

 

Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong’s)

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 

So it is time to stop looking back, however good, however tough, and start looking ahead to what the Lord has destined for us!

 

As we face this New Year, what  can make a difference in Ignite and also in us as individuals?

 

GETTING INTIMATE WITH GOD

 

One of our greatest needs as human beings is to know that we are loved. Each one of us here has to feel certain, deep down in our hearts, that someone loves us, cares for us, and has our best interests at heart.

 

The need to be loved is at the centre of most human relationships.  Men and women getting married, having families, having affairs, giving presents at Christmas, bringing up children, playing sport, joining clubs, joining Church, signing up to RSVP… all of us want to be loved in some way. And all of us need to know that somebody loves us.

 

That is how God designed us. He wants us to know that He loves each and every one of us with a passionate intensity too deep for words.

 

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV Strong’s)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

 

God created human beings with fellowship in mind—first with Himself and then with others. But we cannot fully love one another until we have ourselves experienced the love of God. We experience His love when we willingly surrender to His call to be our Saviour, Lord, and Friend.

 

2018 is the year to get intimate with God.  It is the year to totally surrender to Him!

 

ARE YOU AS SPIRITUALLY DEAF?

 

The fact is, many of us cannot hear God with any degree of accuracy or confidence. Lots of Christians say, “God told me this or that,” but how can they know? Very often Christians preface what is actually their opinion with the phrase, “God told me…” because they know that we can have no come back if it were true. That’s not often God, that’s often manipulation!

 

Of all the people who say, “God told me to tell you this” over the past year, barely a handful would genuinely be God.  Many good people tell me that they are never sure if the Lord is speaking to them, if at all.

 

So this year, how can you foster an attitude and a lifestyle that enables the Lord to speak to you intimately as He promised He will? Do you have to be a crazy nutcase to hear God, and is the only other alternative being as spiritually deaf as a post?

 

Of course not! Hearing God should be a natural part of every Christian’s relationship with the Lord when you offer Him total surrender. You shouldn’t be weird or over the top strange to have to hear God, and my experience is that most of the odd people are not really hearing God clearly anyway.

 

But neither should you be spiritually hard of hearing. Religious people in church, even back in Jesus’ day, never had a great track record of listening to God, that why Jesus quoted Isaiah in saying,

Matthew 13:14-15 (ESV Strong’s)

Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Now, I want to give you one word that can transform your year. One word that will open your eyes to what God wants you to see, one word that will open your spiritual ears to hear Him. One word that, if you truly embraced it and acted upon it, will take the life that you live right now and morph it into the life you’ve dreamed of, the powerful, Spirit filled life your Father has destined you to live…

 

THE WORD IS SURRENDER, TOTAL SURRENDER

 

Charles Stanley writes about total surrender, “Our intimacy with God determines the impact of our lives.”

 

Total surrender is defined as, “To yield to the power, control or possession of another.” (Miriam Webster’s Dictionary)

Romans 12:1 (ESV Strong’s)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

The Greek word for present is paristemi which means to yield or surrender.

 

When I think of total surrender, I always think of soldiers with their hands above their heads, yielding to the power of their conquerors. Now, when a soldier surrenders there is much fear. They have been fighting against the enemy, killing and destroying, and so to yield or surrender means they place their life into their enemy’s control, with no guarantees of survival or humane treatment. They take a chance, and their life hangs in the balance.

 

But not so when we surrender to Christ. We yield to Christ with the knowledge that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Psalms 9:10 (ESV Strong’s)

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

There are at least three reasons God seeks our total surrender:

 

1.      GOD DESIRES OUR FELLOWSHIP

 

God loves us and desires our fellowship and worship. If we hold something back from God, if we refuse to draw close to Him by surrendering our lives to Him, we cannot know Him completely or fully experience His love.

James 4:7-8 (ESV Strong’s)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 

When we totally surrender to Him, when we yield our lives to Him, we get all of Him. When we decide to move close to the Lord, when we start to seek Him with all our hearts, He moves closer to us.

 

2.      GOD DESIRES OUR SERVICE

 

God wants our service for Him to be effective and fruitful.

 

The more we know and love Jesus, the more effective our service will be, and the more He will grow our ministry. The closer we draw to God, the more impact our lives will have. The more energetically we nurture our relationship with the Lord, the greater the positive mark we will leave behind.

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

 

Total surrender to God means more effective service, and this is what I mean by surrendering to God grows your ministry.

 

3.      GOD DESIRES TO BLESS US

 

God waits for the freedom to bless us.

 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV Strong’s)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Note verse 13, seeking God with all your heart. This is total surrender to Him.

 

God is omnipotent, He is all powerful and can do anything, but He will not violate His own principles. He draws us to Himself so we can experience His love and forgiveness. He asks for our willing surrender so that He can give us the best blessings He has to offer.

 

We are sometimes like a young child watching TV. Their parent comes and wants to take them to the zoo, but they resist because they are content just watching TV, not knowing the wonderful experience awaiting them!

 

WHY WE RESIST TOTAL SURRENDER

 

It is in your interests to surrender to God today at the start of this year! But we resist, don’t we? Why do we want to join the resistance instead of offering total surrender to someone whose expressed desire is to bless us not to harm us?

 

With all the blessings God has clearly in mind for us, why does anyone resist surrendering to God?

 

1.      PRIDE

 

Pride is the key reason most people resist surrender.

 

I remember Kira learning to tie her shoelaces, saying, “I do it mine self” and making us all late!

 

People think they know better than God and that they can handle their lives better than He can, so they keep Him at a distance.  Which is ironic, given the mess most of our lives finish up in, isn’t it?

Proverbs 18:12 (ESV Strong’s)

Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty (prideful), but humility comes before honor.

God wants us to put our trust in him.

We insult God when we trust in our own resources, or anything else, to deliver us from our problems. When we surrender our lives to God, we become his own chosen ones. He promises to hear us when we call out to him.

 

2.      FEAR

 

Others do not surrender because they fear what God will do (or not do) for them. They think that if they give God control, He’ll make them do exactly what will make them most miserable.

 

Many apparently can trust God to give them heaven, but cannot trust Him enough to give them heaven on earth in a life of fulfilment and joy.

 

 

Fear of the Lord is a great thing. Fear of the future is not. Can your trust in God exceed your fear for the future?

Proverbs 29:25 (ESV Strong’s)

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

 

We often treat God like a man, thinking He is out to punish us, or make us suffer, or make us do things we hate just to show us who is boss. God is not like that, so stop tarring Him with the same brush as you would a leader, pastor or politician.

John 14:27 (ESV Strong’s)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

 

3.      UNBELIEF

 

Still others refuse to surrender to Christ because they believe Satan’s lie, which tells them that God is judgmental and will punish them for their mistakes.

 

Jesus says this about Satan…

John 8:44 (ESV Strong’s)

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 

Don’t let your pride, fear or unbelief stop you from fully surrendering to the Lord

 

IT’S TIME TO SURRENDER

 

God always has our best in mind. He will refuse us no good thing when we gladly submit to His will. He tells us, “‘I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope”’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Romans 8:31-32 (ESV Strong’s)

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

 

When we fully surrender to Him, He will withhold no good thing. Of course, we will still face trials of many kinds, but He will graciously help us triumph over them, and use the trials to build character and wisdom into our lives.

 

It only makes sense to surrender to God, because when we do, we grow close to Him—which is His highest priority for us—and we begin to have an impact on our world.

 

And right now, at the start of the New Year is the perfect time to fully surrender to Him and allow Him to fulfil our destiny!

 

I have to do this every day.  I constantly have to fully surrender my life to Christ. In my life I have trusted many things, from my own talents and abilities to my profession to financial advisors.

 

When I fully surrender to Christ, when I fully trust Him for my provision, my future, my reputation and my blessings, that is when He can truly work in my behalf. Whatever I have to face, if I can face them with Jesus, I will be content!

 

IT’S TIME TO REALIGN

 

Is this the cry of your heart? Do you want to know the Savior and live in the fullness of His blessing each day? You can. David wrote,

Psalms 34:10 (ESV Strong’s)

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Young lions try their best, but they are young, strong and headstrong. This year, are you resolved to work harder, try harder, do your best more often, or are you ready to surrender and give it all to Jesus?

 

If you boarded a flight to Sydney from our local airport, and the pilot was just 1 degree to the east off, you would land 17 km out to sea! The only way the pilot can cause you to arrive at your destination is to constantly realign the direction of the plane.

 

At the start of this year, we need realignment. We constantly need realignment. We need to be totally surrendering daily to God, and we can start right now.

 

If you have drifted in your devotion to the Savior last year and feel as though you grow more distant each day in your relationship with Him, then pray that He will draw you near once more. He knows your weaknesses, and if you will tell Him that you want Him to take control of your life in total surrender, He will come to you in a mighty way and bring hope and light to your situation, no matter how dark and hopeless it may feel…

Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV Strong’s)

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

 

IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION

 

Charles Blondin, the great French tightrope Walker, became famous in 1860 for walking across a quarter of a mile of tightrope stretched 160 feet above Niagara Falls. He performed the feat many times in a variety of death-defying ways, including on stilts, on a bicycle and blindfolded. He even carried a small stove and eggs across, and stopped halfway to cook an omelet!

 

Then he took a wheelbarrow across the falls, and asked the huge crowd if they believed he could carry a man in the wheelbarrow across Niagara Falls. They enthusiastically replied, “Yes, you’re the greatest tightrope walker in the world.”

 

“Ok!” He replied, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow?”

James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong’s)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

You’ve heard me call for total surrender this morning, and you can sit and applaud my fully committed heart. But today, I’m asking you to get into the wheelbarrow, I’m asking you to respond by not just listening, not just agreeing, not just thinking or resolving, but by stepping out and doing…

 

William Booth said, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”

 

How great do you want to be in this coming year? Can you offer God total surrender?

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