304- Intimate Worship

Intimate worship is the essence of real worship, when your spirit connects with the Spirit of the Lord in an intimate and close way.

Why Intimate Worship?

When we talk of worship being intimate, we are reminded of the type of relationship we should have with the Lord.  Paul equates marriage with Christ and the church, and the implication here is that we should be as intimate with our Lord and in our worship of Him as a husband and wife are close.=

So much of what we call worship today is big and brassy, but in this special podcast we examine the often overlooked intimacy of true worship, where the world fades away and it is just you and the “Audience of One!”

True intimate worship is not about noise, not about laser lights and smoke machines, but rather is about a close relationship between you and the Lord.  If you as a worship leader can achieve a closer level of intimacy in your worship, then the opportunities for you to lead your worship team and your church into intimate worship is much higher.

And we all should want this kind of relationship.  We all should be striving for and reaching for a level of closeness that joins our hearts with God, where we forget about the performance, we forget about the chords and notes and we concentrate completely and exclusively on the Spirit of God.

And when you discover this level of intimacy, you will never want to worship any other way.  For worship leaders, the closeness and intensity of your worship will cause others in the church to want to follow you, and bring your entire congregation to a new and vibrant place in their worship.  And that, of course, is our job as worship leaders… to lead our people to the most intimate, most vibrant and most holy place of worship, deeper than they have even gone with the Lord.

This is a special pod for those who truly want to go deeper with the Lord…

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/?p=5500

Unity in the Home

Unity in the home is something we all long for, but even among Christians, it is not easy to obtain!


This week we celebrated Valentines Day, and so I did some research into what this day is all about. The original Valentine was a Roman priest who defied an edict from Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor felt marriage was stopping his recruitment drive for his army, so he banned marriage, and Valentine continued to marry couples in secret.

When exposed he was captured, beaten and imprisoned, and while awaiting execution, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, to whom he wrote many love notes. On February 14, 270AD He was executed, having signed off his last note, Your Valentine.  He gave his life for love and his belief in Christ, but he never wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue.”

 

So today I had something else lined up to speak on, but I have felt the Lord strongly working on me to change the topic and speak not about Romantic love but about unity in the family, especially between husband and wife.

 

Please understand, I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, but I sense I need to address the elephant in the room. We don’t talk about this often, and no one really knows what is happening behind closed doors at your house, but this is something we must not ignore.  Probably the easiest way for the devil to destroy Ignite Christian Church and negate any effect we can have on the world for Christ is to destroy our families. And you know what it’s like… you might have had a fight last night, you might have thrown plates, said things you didn’t mean or screamed at the kids, but on Sunday we all paint on happy faces and turn up to Church.  Don’t look so pious, we have all done it sometime, right?

 

UNITY IN THE HOME AND THE ATTACK ON FAMILIES

 

I believe that today, more than ever before we are seeing an attack on unity in the home and families. Values long held across all of society by all peoples in all cultures have been sacrificed to appease a tiny minority.

 

Maybe the same-sex marriage laws don’t affect you directly, maybe the so-called safer schools directives don’t concern you directly, but these and many other forces from parliament to divorce courts to songs to movies to Mardi Gras have chipped away at the family. Even in church our people are affected, our families are under threat like never before, and the divorce rate among Christians is as high as that among the world!

 

The Lord has been showing me how unbelievably disruptive lack of unity in the home can be, within the church and within your family…

 

Psalms 133:1,3 (ESV Strong’s)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

 

I believe that God doesn’t just suggest unity because it’s a good idea, or so you can get some peace and quiet. God crowns unity among people with the command of His blessing, life forevermore. If you want blessing in our church, be in unity. If you want blessing in your home and marriage, be in unity! Unity breeds blessing, just as disunity destroys it!

 

Many of you have lived through relationship disunity in the past. Many have experienced divorce or separation, all of us have had a broken heart or two. Many are living without unity in the home right now, sometimes openly and sometimes behind closed doors. Unity will command God’s blessing, but disunity will kill a church, a business, a football team, a band, a club and especially a family.

 

Satan loves attacking families because the results are high for him. He can take a small issue in your home, like putting out the garbage, what to buy or not buy, squeezing the toothpaste in the wrong spot or controlling the TV remote, and turn it into a mountain of misery for all concerned.

 

At Ignite we have tremendous unity, from the leadership right down. But this week the Lord spoke to me and said, hidden away below the surface there is disunity, not just between church members but within many families on a scale that would shock us if we actually knew.

 

Behind the Valentine Day façade, the flowers and chocolates, behind the happy family approach to Church I know that some of us here are hurting like crazy, and there is conflict bubbling away in our marriages and homes. Husband against wife, wife against husband, mother against daughter, father against son, brother against sister.

 

I know you come to church to feel better, not for the pastor to make you feel uncomfortable or horrible.  For some of us, myself included, this is going to hurt a little bit, but the end result will be greater unity and a blessings that are off the charts! I cannot begin to solve every individual marriage problem or relationship difficulty in one sermon. But if the Lord has challenged me to speak on this, something we usually hush up when we come to church, then I want to be obedient and speak about unity in the home.

 

Let me confess to you that I am not a perfect husband. I don’t give Fiona nearly enough love, barely enough money and never enough time. I make decisions without her, I’m selfish, way too focussed and isolate myself at times. But I love her and believe that, as I yield to the Lord and let Him shape my life, we will see unity and great blessing in our home.

 

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT

 

Let’s start by saying this…we are all different. Men are different to women, kids are different to parents. We think differently, we speak differently and we act differently.

 

When a man speaks he is direct… I speak, you listen, you speak, I listen. But a woman can be speaking and hear every other conversation in the room!

 

Men have this area of the brain called autopilot, and while they are looking at you speaking and appear to be listening, they are really thinking about the football score. Women can turn on the waterworks and cry, but men tend to stonewall, simmering in silence.

 

Men live in the now, often disregarding the consequences. Women live in multiple time zones, and everything you’ve every done in your relationship is carefully catalogued to be recalled when it is needed to win an argument.

 

What about kids?  I mean, what’s the difference between a 2 year old and a terrorist? You can reason with a terrorist.  I heard an eminent psychologist this week explain that there is actually very little difference between the behaviour of the average teenager and a psychopath. They sited lack of empathy for others,  wanting their own way and defiance, in fact pretty much all the character traits of psychopaths bar killing small animals.

 

STEPS TO DIVIDE A HOUSE

 

Jesus said this…

 

Mark 3:24-25 (ESV Strong’s)

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

 

So how does a house, any house such as a church or your home, become divided?  Usually it starts with a difference of opinion, maybe on finances, maybe about disciplining kids, but it then escalates beyond proportion and beyond our control. Here are some of the steps to dividing your house, and Jesus says it will not stand…

 

1.      DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

 

Disunity starts with a difference of opinion.  And let’s face it, we all disagree at some time. My wife often disagrees with me, and it upsets me that she can be wrong so often!

 

One of the great plots of the evil one right now is to allow everybody to think that their opinion is actually important! Look at Facebook. Never before has so much ranting been done so excessively by so many with so little point. Years ago we felt like the little guys had no voice, but today it’s like every idiot with a smartphone can voice the most ridiculous ideas, anytime, anywhere. Opinions are like noses… everyone has one, and most of them smell!

 

So division, whether in church, business or your family, starts with a difference of opinion. It is not wrong to disagree or have an opposing opinion to your spouse, your child, friend or the pastor. It’s how we express this difference of opinion that makes all the difference!

 

Proverbs 18:2 (ESV Strong’s)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

 

2.      WANTING TO BE RIGHT

 

Once during an argument my wife said, “When we argue, you always think you’re right…” I replied that that was true, because if I thought I was wrong I wouldn’t take up a contrary position.

 

We all want to be right, all the time. We all think we are right, most of the time.

 

3.      CHOOSING BEING RIGHT OVER LOVE

 

While we want to be right, it should be more important that we love one another.

 

John 13:34 (ESV Strong’s)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

 

Whenever there is any conflict in the home, and it is inevitable there will be some, unless you live by yourself, and even then you might fight with yourself. When there is conflict or a difference of opinion, you face a choice… do you fight for what you believe is right, or do you show love and grace towards the other party.

 

Now you can love someone and disagree with them, so I am not asking you to become a doormat for love. However, as I often say in the church, you can disagree as long as you agree to disagree agreeably.

 

Disunity occurs when we choose that we want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. When Paul writes about lawsuits between believers he says this…

 

1 Corinthians 6:7 (ESV Strong’s)

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

 

In your home, in your marriage, in your relationships with kids and parents, why take offence? I’m not saying you should become a doormat, but many times we love being right more than we love the other party. I can believe I am right, but still treat you with respect and love if I choose to do so.

 

However, what often happens is that one party stands their ground and insists on being right while the other capitulates and gives in every time. If both of you love each other more than the argument unity is achievable.

 

 

4.      REACTING RATHER THAN RESPONDING

 

So many of us react rather than respond, which can kill unity in the home. When we don’t like things, when we have a disagreement, when we feel hurt or overlooked or persecuted, we often tend to have a knee-jerk reaction (which could be shortened to a jerk reaction, as in being a jerk!)

 

The knee-jerk response is a measurement by doctors of our traction time. It involves a nervous reflex which does not involve the brain, so you make this reaction without conscious thought.

 

As a general rule, when you feel offended, the first reaction is usually neither productive nor the one you want. If, every time you faced conflict, you came apart for half an hour before responding, you would find that both sides will tend to make a more rational, more controlled and more balanced approach.

 

If you respond rather react you will preserve unity far better than if you explode as soon as you’re offended or not happy. Works with the kids, the wife, the dog, the boss and the pastor!

 

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV Strong’s)

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence.

 

 

5.      HOLDING ON TO THE OFFENCE

 

And here is the clincher for ruining unity in the home. If you want to ruin your family, ruin your church or anything else, never let go of offence. Jesus instructs us…

 

Luke 17:3-4 (ESV Strong’s)

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

 

Why should you forgive them so many times? Does Jesus care if you’re right? I mean, I some men say, married a woman I knew that for me was Miss right, I just didn’t realise her first name was always!

 

Jesus commands you to forgive the other’s offence because if you don’t do this, it hurts you far more than it hurts them! It’s like you drinking poison hoping the other guy dies.

 

I have branches of my extended family who haven’t spoken to each other for years. I know of Christians who have been to church every week with people that they haven’t spoken to for years. Holding onto offence never ends well. If you have long term issues with your spouse or kids, pray, swallow your need to be right no matter what and forgive them. Forgiveness creates unity in the home.

 

Paul’s advice is this…

Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV Strong’s)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

 

You may not be able to settle every argument on the day, although it is a good things to aim at, but what Paul says is don’t hold onto it. The longer you remain angry, the more damage you will do, to your relationship and also to yourself. You are better off giving it to the Lord and letting Him sort it than hanging on, feeling self justified but miserable and alienated.

 

6.      GOING COLD

 

If you choose to hold onto offence long enough, something within you and your relationship can die, along with unity in the home.

 

Jesus said to the church at Ephesus

 

Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV Strong’s)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.

 

The church at Ephesus were doing all the right things, looked pious and godly on the surface, but had lost that first love, that sense of wonder that we all have when we fall in love.

 

So, husbands and wives, do not forsake your first love. When you have conflict or disharmony, it is tempting to focus on the disharmony, but most often the current issue is never the real issue. We tend to sweep it up and shovel it under the bed, then gloss it over and come to church.  But I would urge you to look back and regain your first love. I am not talking about gooey feelings here, but the commitment you once had.

 

When you first stood before the altar and said your wedding vows, remember that. When you first held that little baby in your arms, the same one who has grown up and you’re now fighting with, remember that first love.

 

Going cold towards the other person, giving them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment does not solve the problem.  You need honest, open and frank discussion, without threats, screaming or cursing. If you have a conflict with your kids, sit them down and talk about it. If it’s between spouses, find a time to sit with a coffee and share openly and honestly.

 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

 

The fact is, if you are struggling in your marriage or family relationships you are not the only ones. This is happening right across society and I believe especially in the church. The enemy is attacking. The best way to destroy the ministry of a church is to destroy the families within it. You may not feel that your family is being destroyed, but many including myself are starting to feel the pressure against unity in the home.

 

Fiona and I are going away camping this week because, when we  are here, we are so busy we often get zero time together. Two workaholics need to be careful, and take steps to improve their relationship! So what practical steps can you take if you feel the enemy is attacking your family?

 

1.      PRAY FOR PROTECTION AND UNITY IN THE HOME

 

Psalms 57:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

 

Your Heavenly Father longs to protect you. As we sang, He longs to hide you in the shadow of His wings. The first thing you should do is pray for the blood of Jesus to cover your family, and then the enemy will have no choice but to Passover your family, just as the Israelites experienced in the 10th plague.

 

Praying together as a family also can help, although if kids or spouses are not Christians, this is obviously not always an option. Remember, the family that prays together stays together!

 

2.      DRAW NEAR TO GOD

 

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.

 

Get into your daily quiet times, listen to podcasts and sermons, read Christian books. If you do everything you can to draw close to God He promises to draw near to you, and many times you will draw closer to each other as a result.

 

3.      GUARD YOUR MOUTH

 

If you have issues with your family members, pray don’t say!

 

James 3:5 (ESV Strong’s)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

 

How many of us have created havoc by the rash words we have spoken in anger? How many times have we, in anger or frustration, said things we regret?  Things that have destroyed unity in the home.

 

Bill Newman tells of a woman who had been saying horrible things about the pastor. She felt convicted and apologised to the pastor, but he had a strange request… go to the local mountain, cut open a pillow and throw all of the feathers to the wind. She did this, and then the pastor said one more thing… could you go and pick them all up please?

 

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV Strong’s)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

 

Watch what you say, speak life not death to your family, and also watch how you say it! Eg: I’m sorry I love you

 

 

4.      OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION

 

If the situation is explosive, it’s great to back off and take the time to respond appropriately. This doesn’t mean the silent treatment for days, weeks, months or years. To resolve anything, you will need to talk, and talk honestly and openly.  So guys in particular, don’t run and hide in the shed… make time, schedule time in my case, to talk.

 

A couple in counselling… the woman complains “He never tells me he loves me.” The man replies, “I told you when we got married, and if I ever change my mind I will let you know!”

 

Learn to speak, even if it is not your way, and learn to speak words that build up, not pull down. Words that promote unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV Strong’s)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

CHOOSE NOW

 

Look, I know we all, myself included, have said a lot of rough things to those we love, our wives, husbands, kids, brothers and sister, especially when we are under pressure. You cannot take them back, but you can apologise.

 

And changes in your family and relationships start with a decision, a commitment if you will. You can fall in love again, you can have the relationships you want, but you have to decide to do it. Remember, the devil is out to bring you down, and the little foxes spoil the vines… those little irritations, neglected and glossed over, cause major breakups and destroy marriages time and time again.

 

So I’m going to ask you to be honest right now. Is there pressure on your marriage, on your relationships with kids, grandkids, siblings or even church family that aren’t ideal? Have you exploded, ignored or withdrawn in the most important relationships you have.

 

Valentine’s Day this week was all about love. But love is a commitment, and a commitment requires a choice. Ideally, you both commit to each other, but if the other party is too angry or withdrawn, will you be the bigger one and make the choice for establishing unity in the home?

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong’s)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

 

Satan is attacking our families, but we won’t stand for it! We don’t want to lose one marriage, one family, one child, we want to be fully committed to each other and to the Lord’s service.

 

If you have tension, undue pressure on your home, your marriage or your relationship with your kids stand up for unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV Strong’s)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

Unity in the home begets blessing, so if you want your marriage and family blessed, come forward.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2406

Unity in the Home

Unity in the home is something we all long for, but even among Christians, it is not easy to obtain!


This week we celebrated Valentines Day, and so I did some research into what this day is all about. The original Valentine was a Roman priest who defied an edict from Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor felt marriage was stopping his recruitment drive for his army, so he banned marriage, and Valentine continued to marry couples in secret.

When exposed he was captured, beaten and imprisoned, and while awaiting execution, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, to whom he wrote many love notes. On February 14, 270AD He was executed, having signed off his last note, Your Valentine.  He gave his life for love and his belief in Christ, but he never wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue.”

 

So today I had something else lined up to speak on, but I have felt the Lord strongly working on me to change the topic and speak not about Romantic love but about unity in the family, especially between husband and wife.

 

Please understand, I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, but I sense I need to address the elephant in the room. We don’t talk about this often, and no one really knows what is happening behind closed doors at your house, but this is something we must not ignore.  Probably the easiest way for the devil to destroy Ignite Christian Church and negate any effect we can have on the world for Christ is to destroy our families. And you know what it’s like… you might have had a fight last night, you might have thrown plates, said things you didn’t mean or screamed at the kids, but on Sunday we all paint on happy faces and turn up to Church.  Don’t look so pious, we have all done it sometime, right?

 

UNITY IN THE HOME AND THE ATTACK ON FAMILIES

 

I believe that today, more than ever before we are seeing an attack on unity in the home and families. Values long held across all of society by all peoples in all cultures have been sacrificed to appease a tiny minority.

 

Maybe the same-sex marriage laws don’t affect you directly, maybe the so-called safer schools directives don’t concern you directly, but these and many other forces from parliament to divorce courts to songs to movies to Mardi Gras have chipped away at the family. Even in church our people are affected, our families are under threat like never before, and the divorce rate among Christians is as high as that among the world!

 

The Lord has been showing me how unbelievably disruptive lack of unity in the home can be, within the church and within your family…

 

Psalms 133:1,3 (ESV Strong’s)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

 

I believe that God doesn’t just suggest unity because it’s a good idea, or so you can get some peace and quiet. God crowns unity among people with the command of His blessing, life forevermore. If you want blessing in our church, be in unity. If you want blessing in your home and marriage, be in unity! Unity breeds blessing, just as disunity destroys it!

 

Many of you have lived through relationship disunity in the past. Many have experienced divorce or separation, all of us have had a broken heart or two. Many are living without unity in the home right now, sometimes openly and sometimes behind closed doors. Unity will command God’s blessing, but disunity will kill a church, a business, a football team, a band, a club and especially a family.

 

Satan loves attacking families because the results are high for him. He can take a small issue in your home, like putting out the garbage, what to buy or not buy, squeezing the toothpaste in the wrong spot or controlling the TV remote, and turn it into a mountain of misery for all concerned.

 

At Ignite we have tremendous unity, from the leadership right down. But this week the Lord spoke to me and said, hidden away below the surface there is disunity, not just between church members but within many families on a scale that would shock us if we actually knew.

 

Behind the Valentine Day façade, the flowers and chocolates, behind the happy family approach to Church I know that some of us here are hurting like crazy, and there is conflict bubbling away in our marriages and homes. Husband against wife, wife against husband, mother against daughter, father against son, brother against sister.

 

I know you come to church to feel better, not for the pastor to make you feel uncomfortable or horrible.  For some of us, myself included, this is going to hurt a little bit, but the end result will be greater unity and a blessings that are off the charts! I cannot begin to solve every individual marriage problem or relationship difficulty in one sermon. But if the Lord has challenged me to speak on this, something we usually hush up when we come to church, then I want to be obedient and speak about unity in the home.

 

Let me confess to you that I am not a perfect husband. I don’t give Fiona nearly enough love, barely enough money and never enough time. I make decisions without her, I’m selfish, way too focussed and isolate myself at times. But I love her and believe that, as I yield to the Lord and let Him shape my life, we will see unity and great blessing in our home.

 

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT

 

Let’s start by saying this…we are all different. Men are different to women, kids are different to parents. We think differently, we speak differently and we act differently.

 

When a man speaks he is direct… I speak, you listen, you speak, I listen. But a woman can be speaking and hear every other conversation in the room!

 

Men have this area of the brain called autopilot, and while they are looking at you speaking and appear to be listening, they are really thinking about the football score. Women can turn on the waterworks and cry, but men tend to stonewall, simmering in silence.

 

Men live in the now, often disregarding the consequences. Women live in multiple time zones, and everything you’ve every done in your relationship is carefully catalogued to be recalled when it is needed to win an argument.

 

What about kids?  I mean, what’s the difference between a 2 year old and a terrorist? You can reason with a terrorist.  I heard an eminent psychologist this week explain that there is actually very little difference between the behaviour of the average teenager and a psychopath. They sited lack of empathy for others,  wanting their own way and defiance, in fact pretty much all the character traits of psychopaths bar killing small animals.

 

STEPS TO DIVIDE A HOUSE

 

Jesus said this…

 

Mark 3:24-25 (ESV Strong’s)

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

 

So how does a house, any house such as a church or your home, become divided?  Usually it starts with a difference of opinion, maybe on finances, maybe about disciplining kids, but it then escalates beyond proportion and beyond our control. Here are some of the steps to dividing your house, and Jesus says it will not stand…

 

1.      DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

 

Disunity starts with a difference of opinion.  And let’s face it, we all disagree at some time. My wife often disagrees with me, and it upsets me that she can be wrong so often!

 

One of the great plots of the evil one right now is to allow everybody to think that their opinion is actually important! Look at Facebook. Never before has so much ranting been done so excessively by so many with so little point. Years ago we felt like the little guys had no voice, but today it’s like every idiot with a smartphone can voice the most ridiculous ideas, anytime, anywhere. Opinions are like noses… everyone has one, and most of them smell!

 

So division, whether in church, business or your family, starts with a difference of opinion. It is not wrong to disagree or have an opposing opinion to your spouse, your child, friend or the pastor. It’s how we express this difference of opinion that makes all the difference!

 

Proverbs 18:2 (ESV Strong’s)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

 

2.      WANTING TO BE RIGHT

 

Once during an argument my wife said, “When we argue, you always think you’re right…” I replied that that was true, because if I thought I was wrong I wouldn’t take up a contrary position.

 

We all want to be right, all the time. We all think we are right, most of the time.

 

3.      CHOOSING BEING RIGHT OVER LOVE

 

While we want to be right, it should be more important that we love one another.

 

John 13:34 (ESV Strong’s)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

 

Whenever there is any conflict in the home, and it is inevitable there will be some, unless you live by yourself, and even then you might fight with yourself. When there is conflict or a difference of opinion, you face a choice… do you fight for what you believe is right, or do you show love and grace towards the other party.

 

Now you can love someone and disagree with them, so I am not asking you to become a doormat for love. However, as I often say in the church, you can disagree as long as you agree to disagree agreeably.

 

Disunity occurs when we choose that we want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. When Paul writes about lawsuits between believers he says this…

 

1 Corinthians 6:7 (ESV Strong’s)

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

 

In your home, in your marriage, in your relationships with kids and parents, why take offence? I’m not saying you should become a doormat, but many times we love being right more than we love the other party. I can believe I am right, but still treat you with respect and love if I choose to do so.

 

However, what often happens is that one party stands their ground and insists on being right while the other capitulates and gives in every time. If both of you love each other more than the argument unity is achievable.

 

 

4.      REACTING RATHER THAN RESPONDING

 

So many of us react rather than respond, which can kill unity in the home. When we don’t like things, when we have a disagreement, when we feel hurt or overlooked or persecuted, we often tend to have a knee-jerk reaction (which could be shortened to a jerk reaction, as in being a jerk!)

 

The knee-jerk response is a measurement by doctors of our traction time. It involves a nervous reflex which does not involve the brain, so you make this reaction without conscious thought.

 

As a general rule, when you feel offended, the first reaction is usually neither productive nor the one you want. If, every time you faced conflict, you came apart for half an hour before responding, you would find that both sides will tend to make a more rational, more controlled and more balanced approach.

 

If you respond rather react you will preserve unity far better than if you explode as soon as you’re offended or not happy. Works with the kids, the wife, the dog, the boss and the pastor!

 

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV Strong’s)

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence.

 

 

5.      HOLDING ON TO THE OFFENCE

 

And here is the clincher for ruining unity in the home. If you want to ruin your family, ruin your church or anything else, never let go of offence. Jesus instructs us…

 

Luke 17:3-4 (ESV Strong’s)

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

 

Why should you forgive them so many times? Does Jesus care if you’re right? I mean, I some men say, married a woman I knew that for me was Miss right, I just didn’t realise her first name was always!

 

Jesus commands you to forgive the other’s offence because if you don’t do this, it hurts you far more than it hurts them! It’s like you drinking poison hoping the other guy dies.

 

I have branches of my extended family who haven’t spoken to each other for years. I know of Christians who have been to church every week with people that they haven’t spoken to for years. Holding onto offence never ends well. If you have long term issues with your spouse or kids, pray, swallow your need to be right no matter what and forgive them. Forgiveness creates unity in the home.

 

Paul’s advice is this…

Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV Strong’s)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

 

You may not be able to settle every argument on the day, although it is a good things to aim at, but what Paul says is don’t hold onto it. The longer you remain angry, the more damage you will do, to your relationship and also to yourself. You are better off giving it to the Lord and letting Him sort it than hanging on, feeling self justified but miserable and alienated.

 

6.      GOING COLD

 

If you choose to hold onto offence long enough, something within you and your relationship can die, along with unity in the home.

 

Jesus said to the church at Ephesus

 

Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV Strong’s)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.

 

The church at Ephesus were doing all the right things, looked pious and godly on the surface, but had lost that first love, that sense of wonder that we all have when we fall in love.

 

So, husbands and wives, do not forsake your first love. When you have conflict or disharmony, it is tempting to focus on the disharmony, but most often the current issue is never the real issue. We tend to sweep it up and shovel it under the bed, then gloss it over and come to church.  But I would urge you to look back and regain your first love. I am not talking about gooey feelings here, but the commitment you once had.

 

When you first stood before the altar and said your wedding vows, remember that. When you first held that little baby in your arms, the same one who has grown up and you’re now fighting with, remember that first love.

 

Going cold towards the other person, giving them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment does not solve the problem.  You need honest, open and frank discussion, without threats, screaming or cursing. If you have a conflict with your kids, sit them down and talk about it. If it’s between spouses, find a time to sit with a coffee and share openly and honestly.

 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

 

The fact is, if you are struggling in your marriage or family relationships you are not the only ones. This is happening right across society and I believe especially in the church. The enemy is attacking. The best way to destroy the ministry of a church is to destroy the families within it. You may not feel that your family is being destroyed, but many including myself are starting to feel the pressure against unity in the home.

 

Fiona and I are going away camping this week because, when we  are here, we are so busy we often get zero time together. Two workaholics need to be careful, and take steps to improve their relationship! So what practical steps can you take if you feel the enemy is attacking your family?

 

1.      PRAY FOR PROTECTION AND UNITY IN THE HOME

 

Psalms 57:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

 

Your Heavenly Father longs to protect you. As we sang, He longs to hide you in the shadow of His wings. The first thing you should do is pray for the blood of Jesus to cover your family, and then the enemy will have no choice but to Passover your family, just as the Israelites experienced in the 10th plague.

 

Praying together as a family also can help, although if kids or spouses are not Christians, this is obviously not always an option. Remember, the family that prays together stays together!

 

2.      DRAW NEAR TO GOD

 

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.

 

Get into your daily quiet times, listen to podcasts and sermons, read Christian books. If you do everything you can to draw close to God He promises to draw near to you, and many times you will draw closer to each other as a result.

 

3.      GUARD YOUR MOUTH

 

If you have issues with your family members, pray don’t say!

 

James 3:5 (ESV Strong’s)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

 

How many of us have created havoc by the rash words we have spoken in anger? How many times have we, in anger or frustration, said things we regret?  Things that have destroyed unity in the home.

 

Bill Newman tells of a woman who had been saying horrible things about the pastor. She felt convicted and apologised to the pastor, but he had a strange request… go to the local mountain, cut open a pillow and throw all of the feathers to the wind. She did this, and then the pastor said one more thing… could you go and pick them all up please?

 

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV Strong’s)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

 

Watch what you say, speak life not death to your family, and also watch how you say it! Eg: I’m sorry I love you

 

 

4.      OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION

 

If the situation is explosive, it’s great to back off and take the time to respond appropriately. This doesn’t mean the silent treatment for days, weeks, months or years. To resolve anything, you will need to talk, and talk honestly and openly.  So guys in particular, don’t run and hide in the shed… make time, schedule time in my case, to talk.

 

A couple in counselling… the woman complains “He never tells me he loves me.” The man replies, “I told you when we got married, and if I ever change my mind I will let you know!”

 

Learn to speak, even if it is not your way, and learn to speak words that build up, not pull down. Words that promote unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV Strong’s)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

CHOOSE NOW

 

Look, I know we all, myself included, have said a lot of rough things to those we love, our wives, husbands, kids, brothers and sister, especially when we are under pressure. You cannot take them back, but you can apologise.

 

And changes in your family and relationships start with a decision, a commitment if you will. You can fall in love again, you can have the relationships you want, but you have to decide to do it. Remember, the devil is out to bring you down, and the little foxes spoil the vines… those little irritations, neglected and glossed over, cause major breakups and destroy marriages time and time again.

 

So I’m going to ask you to be honest right now. Is there pressure on your marriage, on your relationships with kids, grandkids, siblings or even church family that aren’t ideal? Have you exploded, ignored or withdrawn in the most important relationships you have.

 

Valentine’s Day this week was all about love. But love is a commitment, and a commitment requires a choice. Ideally, you both commit to each other, but if the other party is too angry or withdrawn, will you be the bigger one and make the choice for establishing unity in the home?

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong’s)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

 

Satan is attacking our families, but we won’t stand for it! We don’t want to lose one marriage, one family, one child, we want to be fully committed to each other and to the Lord’s service.

 

If you have tension, undue pressure on your home, your marriage or your relationship with your kids stand up for unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV Strong’s)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

Unity in the home begets blessing, so if you want your marriage and family blessed, come forward.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2406

Unity in the Home

Unity in the home is something we all long for, but even among Christians, it is not easy to obtain!


This week we celebrated Valentines Day, and so I did some research into what this day is all about. The original Valentine was a Roman priest who defied an edict from Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor felt marriage was stopping his recruitment drive for his army, so he banned marriage, and Valentine continued to marry couples in secret.

When exposed he was captured, beaten and imprisoned, and while awaiting execution, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, to whom he wrote many love notes. On February 14, 270AD He was executed, having signed off his last note, Your Valentine.  He gave his life for love and his belief in Christ, but he never wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue.”

 

So today I had something else lined up to speak on, but I have felt the Lord strongly working on me to change the topic and speak not about Romantic love but about unity in the family, especially between husband and wife.

 

Please understand, I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, but I sense I need to address the elephant in the room. We don’t talk about this often, and no one really knows what is happening behind closed doors at your house, but this is something we must not ignore.  Probably the easiest way for the devil to destroy Ignite Christian Church and negate any effect we can have on the world for Christ is to destroy our families. And you know what it’s like… you might have had a fight last night, you might have thrown plates, said things you didn’t mean or screamed at the kids, but on Sunday we all paint on happy faces and turn up to Church.  Don’t look so pious, we have all done it sometime, right?

 

UNITY IN THE HOME AND THE ATTACK ON FAMILIES

 

I believe that today, more than ever before we are seeing an attack on unity in the home and families. Values long held across all of society by all peoples in all cultures have been sacrificed to appease a tiny minority.

 

Maybe the same-sex marriage laws don’t affect you directly, maybe the so-called safer schools directives don’t concern you directly, but these and many other forces from parliament to divorce courts to songs to movies to Mardi Gras have chipped away at the family. Even in church our people are affected, our families are under threat like never before, and the divorce rate among Christians is as high as that among the world!

 

The Lord has been showing me how unbelievably disruptive lack of unity in the home can be, within the church and within your family…

 

Psalms 133:1,3 (ESV Strong’s)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

 

I believe that God doesn’t just suggest unity because it’s a good idea, or so you can get some peace and quiet. God crowns unity among people with the command of His blessing, life forevermore. If you want blessing in our church, be in unity. If you want blessing in your home and marriage, be in unity! Unity breeds blessing, just as disunity destroys it!

 

Many of you have lived through relationship disunity in the past. Many have experienced divorce or separation, all of us have had a broken heart or two. Many are living without unity in the home right now, sometimes openly and sometimes behind closed doors. Unity will command God’s blessing, but disunity will kill a church, a business, a football team, a band, a club and especially a family.

 

Satan loves attacking families because the results are high for him. He can take a small issue in your home, like putting out the garbage, what to buy or not buy, squeezing the toothpaste in the wrong spot or controlling the TV remote, and turn it into a mountain of misery for all concerned.

 

At Ignite we have tremendous unity, from the leadership right down. But this week the Lord spoke to me and said, hidden away below the surface there is disunity, not just between church members but within many families on a scale that would shock us if we actually knew.

 

Behind the Valentine Day façade, the flowers and chocolates, behind the happy family approach to Church I know that some of us here are hurting like crazy, and there is conflict bubbling away in our marriages and homes. Husband against wife, wife against husband, mother against daughter, father against son, brother against sister.

 

I know you come to church to feel better, not for the pastor to make you feel uncomfortable or horrible.  For some of us, myself included, this is going to hurt a little bit, but the end result will be greater unity and a blessings that are off the charts! I cannot begin to solve every individual marriage problem or relationship difficulty in one sermon. But if the Lord has challenged me to speak on this, something we usually hush up when we come to church, then I want to be obedient and speak about unity in the home.

 

Let me confess to you that I am not a perfect husband. I don’t give Fiona nearly enough love, barely enough money and never enough time. I make decisions without her, I’m selfish, way too focussed and isolate myself at times. But I love her and believe that, as I yield to the Lord and let Him shape my life, we will see unity and great blessing in our home.

 

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT

 

Let’s start by saying this…we are all different. Men are different to women, kids are different to parents. We think differently, we speak differently and we act differently.

 

When a man speaks he is direct… I speak, you listen, you speak, I listen. But a woman can be speaking and hear every other conversation in the room!

 

Men have this area of the brain called autopilot, and while they are looking at you speaking and appear to be listening, they are really thinking about the football score. Women can turn on the waterworks and cry, but men tend to stonewall, simmering in silence.

 

Men live in the now, often disregarding the consequences. Women live in multiple time zones, and everything you’ve every done in your relationship is carefully catalogued to be recalled when it is needed to win an argument.

 

What about kids?  I mean, what’s the difference between a 2 year old and a terrorist? You can reason with a terrorist.  I heard an eminent psychologist this week explain that there is actually very little difference between the behaviour of the average teenager and a psychopath. They sited lack of empathy for others,  wanting their own way and defiance, in fact pretty much all the character traits of psychopaths bar killing small animals.

 

STEPS TO DIVIDE A HOUSE

 

Jesus said this…

 

Mark 3:24-25 (ESV Strong’s)

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

 

So how does a house, any house such as a church or your home, become divided?  Usually it starts with a difference of opinion, maybe on finances, maybe about disciplining kids, but it then escalates beyond proportion and beyond our control. Here are some of the steps to dividing your house, and Jesus says it will not stand…

 

1.      DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

 

Disunity starts with a difference of opinion.  And let’s face it, we all disagree at some time. My wife often disagrees with me, and it upsets me that she can be wrong so often!

 

One of the great plots of the evil one right now is to allow everybody to think that their opinion is actually important! Look at Facebook. Never before has so much ranting been done so excessively by so many with so little point. Years ago we felt like the little guys had no voice, but today it’s like every idiot with a smartphone can voice the most ridiculous ideas, anytime, anywhere. Opinions are like noses… everyone has one, and most of them smell!

 

So division, whether in church, business or your family, starts with a difference of opinion. It is not wrong to disagree or have an opposing opinion to your spouse, your child, friend or the pastor. It’s how we express this difference of opinion that makes all the difference!

 

Proverbs 18:2 (ESV Strong’s)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

 

2.      WANTING TO BE RIGHT

 

Once during an argument my wife said, “When we argue, you always think you’re right…” I replied that that was true, because if I thought I was wrong I wouldn’t take up a contrary position.

 

We all want to be right, all the time. We all think we are right, most of the time.

 

3.      CHOOSING BEING RIGHT OVER LOVE

 

While we want to be right, it should be more important that we love one another.

 

John 13:34 (ESV Strong’s)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

 

Whenever there is any conflict in the home, and it is inevitable there will be some, unless you live by yourself, and even then you might fight with yourself. When there is conflict or a difference of opinion, you face a choice… do you fight for what you believe is right, or do you show love and grace towards the other party.

 

Now you can love someone and disagree with them, so I am not asking you to become a doormat for love. However, as I often say in the church, you can disagree as long as you agree to disagree agreeably.

 

Disunity occurs when we choose that we want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. When Paul writes about lawsuits between believers he says this…

 

1 Corinthians 6:7 (ESV Strong’s)

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

 

In your home, in your marriage, in your relationships with kids and parents, why take offence? I’m not saying you should become a doormat, but many times we love being right more than we love the other party. I can believe I am right, but still treat you with respect and love if I choose to do so.

 

However, what often happens is that one party stands their ground and insists on being right while the other capitulates and gives in every time. If both of you love each other more than the argument unity is achievable.

 

 

4.      REACTING RATHER THAN RESPONDING

 

So many of us react rather than respond, which can kill unity in the home. When we don’t like things, when we have a disagreement, when we feel hurt or overlooked or persecuted, we often tend to have a knee-jerk reaction (which could be shortened to a jerk reaction, as in being a jerk!)

 

The knee-jerk response is a measurement by doctors of our traction time. It involves a nervous reflex which does not involve the brain, so you make this reaction without conscious thought.

 

As a general rule, when you feel offended, the first reaction is usually neither productive nor the one you want. If, every time you faced conflict, you came apart for half an hour before responding, you would find that both sides will tend to make a more rational, more controlled and more balanced approach.

 

If you respond rather react you will preserve unity far better than if you explode as soon as you’re offended or not happy. Works with the kids, the wife, the dog, the boss and the pastor!

 

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV Strong’s)

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence.

 

 

5.      HOLDING ON TO THE OFFENCE

 

And here is the clincher for ruining unity in the home. If you want to ruin your family, ruin your church or anything else, never let go of offence. Jesus instructs us…

 

Luke 17:3-4 (ESV Strong’s)

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

 

Why should you forgive them so many times? Does Jesus care if you’re right? I mean, I some men say, married a woman I knew that for me was Miss right, I just didn’t realise her first name was always!

 

Jesus commands you to forgive the other’s offence because if you don’t do this, it hurts you far more than it hurts them! It’s like you drinking poison hoping the other guy dies.

 

I have branches of my extended family who haven’t spoken to each other for years. I know of Christians who have been to church every week with people that they haven’t spoken to for years. Holding onto offence never ends well. If you have long term issues with your spouse or kids, pray, swallow your need to be right no matter what and forgive them. Forgiveness creates unity in the home.

 

Paul’s advice is this…

Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV Strong’s)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

 

You may not be able to settle every argument on the day, although it is a good things to aim at, but what Paul says is don’t hold onto it. The longer you remain angry, the more damage you will do, to your relationship and also to yourself. You are better off giving it to the Lord and letting Him sort it than hanging on, feeling self justified but miserable and alienated.

 

6.      GOING COLD

 

If you choose to hold onto offence long enough, something within you and your relationship can die, along with unity in the home.

 

Jesus said to the church at Ephesus

 

Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV Strong’s)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.

 

The church at Ephesus were doing all the right things, looked pious and godly on the surface, but had lost that first love, that sense of wonder that we all have when we fall in love.

 

So, husbands and wives, do not forsake your first love. When you have conflict or disharmony, it is tempting to focus on the disharmony, but most often the current issue is never the real issue. We tend to sweep it up and shovel it under the bed, then gloss it over and come to church.  But I would urge you to look back and regain your first love. I am not talking about gooey feelings here, but the commitment you once had.

 

When you first stood before the altar and said your wedding vows, remember that. When you first held that little baby in your arms, the same one who has grown up and you’re now fighting with, remember that first love.

 

Going cold towards the other person, giving them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment does not solve the problem.  You need honest, open and frank discussion, without threats, screaming or cursing. If you have a conflict with your kids, sit them down and talk about it. If it’s between spouses, find a time to sit with a coffee and share openly and honestly.

 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

 

The fact is, if you are struggling in your marriage or family relationships you are not the only ones. This is happening right across society and I believe especially in the church. The enemy is attacking. The best way to destroy the ministry of a church is to destroy the families within it. You may not feel that your family is being destroyed, but many including myself are starting to feel the pressure against unity in the home.

 

Fiona and I are going away camping this week because, when we  are here, we are so busy we often get zero time together. Two workaholics need to be careful, and take steps to improve their relationship! So what practical steps can you take if you feel the enemy is attacking your family?

 

1.      PRAY FOR PROTECTION AND UNITY IN THE HOME

 

Psalms 57:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

 

Your Heavenly Father longs to protect you. As we sang, He longs to hide you in the shadow of His wings. The first thing you should do is pray for the blood of Jesus to cover your family, and then the enemy will have no choice but to Passover your family, just as the Israelites experienced in the 10th plague.

 

Praying together as a family also can help, although if kids or spouses are not Christians, this is obviously not always an option. Remember, the family that prays together stays together!

 

2.      DRAW NEAR TO GOD

 

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.

 

Get into your daily quiet times, listen to podcasts and sermons, read Christian books. If you do everything you can to draw close to God He promises to draw near to you, and many times you will draw closer to each other as a result.

 

3.      GUARD YOUR MOUTH

 

If you have issues with your family members, pray don’t say!

 

James 3:5 (ESV Strong’s)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

 

How many of us have created havoc by the rash words we have spoken in anger? How many times have we, in anger or frustration, said things we regret?  Things that have destroyed unity in the home.

 

Bill Newman tells of a woman who had been saying horrible things about the pastor. She felt convicted and apologised to the pastor, but he had a strange request… go to the local mountain, cut open a pillow and throw all of the feathers to the wind. She did this, and then the pastor said one more thing… could you go and pick them all up please?

 

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV Strong’s)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

 

Watch what you say, speak life not death to your family, and also watch how you say it! Eg: I’m sorry I love you

 

 

4.      OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION

 

If the situation is explosive, it’s great to back off and take the time to respond appropriately. This doesn’t mean the silent treatment for days, weeks, months or years. To resolve anything, you will need to talk, and talk honestly and openly.  So guys in particular, don’t run and hide in the shed… make time, schedule time in my case, to talk.

 

A couple in counselling… the woman complains “He never tells me he loves me.” The man replies, “I told you when we got married, and if I ever change my mind I will let you know!”

 

Learn to speak, even if it is not your way, and learn to speak words that build up, not pull down. Words that promote unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV Strong’s)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

CHOOSE NOW

 

Look, I know we all, myself included, have said a lot of rough things to those we love, our wives, husbands, kids, brothers and sister, especially when we are under pressure. You cannot take them back, but you can apologise.

 

And changes in your family and relationships start with a decision, a commitment if you will. You can fall in love again, you can have the relationships you want, but you have to decide to do it. Remember, the devil is out to bring you down, and the little foxes spoil the vines… those little irritations, neglected and glossed over, cause major breakups and destroy marriages time and time again.

 

So I’m going to ask you to be honest right now. Is there pressure on your marriage, on your relationships with kids, grandkids, siblings or even church family that aren’t ideal? Have you exploded, ignored or withdrawn in the most important relationships you have.

 

Valentine’s Day this week was all about love. But love is a commitment, and a commitment requires a choice. Ideally, you both commit to each other, but if the other party is too angry or withdrawn, will you be the bigger one and make the choice for establishing unity in the home?

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong’s)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

 

Satan is attacking our families, but we won’t stand for it! We don’t want to lose one marriage, one family, one child, we want to be fully committed to each other and to the Lord’s service.

 

If you have tension, undue pressure on your home, your marriage or your relationship with your kids stand up for unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV Strong’s)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

Unity in the home begets blessing, so if you want your marriage and family blessed, come forward.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2406

303- Mic and Voice Control in Worship Leading

Mic and voice control in worship leading is essential for leading really powerful worship in church if you have amplification.

Mic and Voice Control is Easy When You Know How!

Many people freeze when they hold a microphone or when they stand before one.  Yet this simple tool can be a great ally when it comes to leading worship, especially if you know how to use the mic correctly.

Every singer who leads worship or sings in the worship team needs to listen to this podcast. The tips and techniques revealed in this show can be applied right now and improve the sound and structure of the whole team, and also make the sound guy or girl’s job a lot easier!

singer-1047531_960_720.jpgMany times singers do not see their singing as an instrument, and so they just belt our every song at full volume, with little shape to their vocals, and no “light and shade”.  Yet vocals are not just another instrument, they are in fact the ultimate instrument, and vocalists should be able to use their singing in a way that adds tremendous power and presence tot he entire worship.

And the crazy thing is that the techniques needed to control both your voice and the microphone are not that difficult to master. You see them every time you watch a youtube clip of singing or worship, and so in this pod Darin and Erick go through how they use their voices and the microphone to good effect.  These mic and voice control tips and techniques have taken a lifetime to learn and master, but they managed to boil it all down to a half hour of fun and great ideas!

So if you want your vocals to improve, and if you want the team’s vocals to improve, listen to this podcast and learn how to use microphones, how to hold them, and above all, how to use your voice control to great effect when constructing and leading worship songs.

Check it out now and supercharge your vocals!

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/?p=5495

Unity in the Home

Unity in the home is something we all long for, but even among Christians, it is not easy to obtain!


This week we celebrated Valentines Day, and so I did some research into what this day is all about. The original Valentine was a Roman priest who defied an edict from Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor felt marriage was stopping his recruitment drive for his army, so he banned marriage, and Valentine continued to marry couples in secret.

When exposed he was captured, beaten and imprisoned, and while awaiting execution, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, to whom he wrote many love notes. On February 14, 270AD He was executed, having signed off his last note, Your Valentine.  He gave his life for love and his belief in Christ, but he never wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue.”

 

So today I had something else lined up to speak on, but I have felt the Lord strongly working on me to change the topic and speak not about Romantic love but about unity in the family, especially between husband and wife.

 

Please understand, I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, but I sense I need to address the elephant in the room. We don’t talk about this often, and no one really knows what is happening behind closed doors at your house, but this is something we must not ignore.  Probably the easiest way for the devil to destroy Ignite Christian Church and negate any effect we can have on the world for Christ is to destroy our families. And you know what it’s like… you might have had a fight last night, you might have thrown plates, said things you didn’t mean or screamed at the kids, but on Sunday we all paint on happy faces and turn up to Church.  Don’t look so pious, we have all done it sometime, right?

 

UNITY IN THE HOME AND THE ATTACK ON FAMILIES

 

I believe that today, more than ever before we are seeing an attack on unity in the home and families. Values long held across all of society by all peoples in all cultures have been sacrificed to appease a tiny minority.

 

Maybe the same-sex marriage laws don’t affect you directly, maybe the so-called safer schools directives don’t concern you directly, but these and many other forces from parliament to divorce courts to songs to movies to Mardi Gras have chipped away at the family. Even in church our people are affected, our families are under threat like never before, and the divorce rate among Christians is as high as that among the world!

 

The Lord has been showing me how unbelievably disruptive lack of unity in the home can be, within the church and within your family…

 

Psalms 133:1,3 (ESV Strong’s)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

 

I believe that God doesn’t just suggest unity because it’s a good idea, or so you can get some peace and quiet. God crowns unity among people with the command of His blessing, life forevermore. If you want blessing in our church, be in unity. If you want blessing in your home and marriage, be in unity! Unity breeds blessing, just as disunity destroys it!

 

Many of you have lived through relationship disunity in the past. Many have experienced divorce or separation, all of us have had a broken heart or two. Many are living without unity in the home right now, sometimes openly and sometimes behind closed doors. Unity will command God’s blessing, but disunity will kill a church, a business, a football team, a band, a club and especially a family.

 

Satan loves attacking families because the results are high for him. He can take a small issue in your home, like putting out the garbage, what to buy or not buy, squeezing the toothpaste in the wrong spot or controlling the TV remote, and turn it into a mountain of misery for all concerned.

 

At Ignite we have tremendous unity, from the leadership right down. But this week the Lord spoke to me and said, hidden away below the surface there is disunity, not just between church members but within many families on a scale that would shock us if we actually knew.

 

Behind the Valentine Day façade, the flowers and chocolates, behind the happy family approach to Church I know that some of us here are hurting like crazy, and there is conflict bubbling away in our marriages and homes. Husband against wife, wife against husband, mother against daughter, father against son, brother against sister.

 

I know you come to church to feel better, not for the pastor to make you feel uncomfortable or horrible.  For some of us, myself included, this is going to hurt a little bit, but the end result will be greater unity and a blessings that are off the charts! I cannot begin to solve every individual marriage problem or relationship difficulty in one sermon. But if the Lord has challenged me to speak on this, something we usually hush up when we come to church, then I want to be obedient and speak about unity in the home.

 

Let me confess to you that I am not a perfect husband. I don’t give Fiona nearly enough love, barely enough money and never enough time. I make decisions without her, I’m selfish, way too focussed and isolate myself at times. But I love her and believe that, as I yield to the Lord and let Him shape my life, we will see unity and great blessing in our home.

 

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT

 

Let’s start by saying this…we are all different. Men are different to women, kids are different to parents. We think differently, we speak differently and we act differently.

 

When a man speaks he is direct… I speak, you listen, you speak, I listen. But a woman can be speaking and hear every other conversation in the room!

 

Men have this area of the brain called autopilot, and while they are looking at you speaking and appear to be listening, they are really thinking about the football score. Women can turn on the waterworks and cry, but men tend to stonewall, simmering in silence.

 

Men live in the now, often disregarding the consequences. Women live in multiple time zones, and everything you’ve every done in your relationship is carefully catalogued to be recalled when it is needed to win an argument.

 

What about kids?  I mean, what’s the difference between a 2 year old and a terrorist? You can reason with a terrorist.  I heard an eminent psychologist this week explain that there is actually very little difference between the behaviour of the average teenager and a psychopath. They sited lack of empathy for others,  wanting their own way and defiance, in fact pretty much all the character traits of psychopaths bar killing small animals.

 

STEPS TO DIVIDE A HOUSE

 

Jesus said this…

 

Mark 3:24-25 (ESV Strong’s)

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

 

So how does a house, any house such as a church or your home, become divided?  Usually it starts with a difference of opinion, maybe on finances, maybe about disciplining kids, but it then escalates beyond proportion and beyond our control. Here are some of the steps to dividing your house, and Jesus says it will not stand…

 

1.      DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

 

Disunity starts with a difference of opinion.  And let’s face it, we all disagree at some time. My wife often disagrees with me, and it upsets me that she can be wrong so often!

 

One of the great plots of the evil one right now is to allow everybody to think that their opinion is actually important! Look at Facebook. Never before has so much ranting been done so excessively by so many with so little point. Years ago we felt like the little guys had no voice, but today it’s like every idiot with a smartphone can voice the most ridiculous ideas, anytime, anywhere. Opinions are like noses… everyone has one, and most of them smell!

 

So division, whether in church, business or your family, starts with a difference of opinion. It is not wrong to disagree or have an opposing opinion to your spouse, your child, friend or the pastor. It’s how we express this difference of opinion that makes all the difference!

 

Proverbs 18:2 (ESV Strong’s)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

 

2.      WANTING TO BE RIGHT

 

Once during an argument my wife said, “When we argue, you always think you’re right…” I replied that that was true, because if I thought I was wrong I wouldn’t take up a contrary position.

 

We all want to be right, all the time. We all think we are right, most of the time.

 

3.      CHOOSING BEING RIGHT OVER LOVE

 

While we want to be right, it should be more important that we love one another.

 

John 13:34 (ESV Strong’s)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

 

Whenever there is any conflict in the home, and it is inevitable there will be some, unless you live by yourself, and even then you might fight with yourself. When there is conflict or a difference of opinion, you face a choice… do you fight for what you believe is right, or do you show love and grace towards the other party.

 

Now you can love someone and disagree with them, so I am not asking you to become a doormat for love. However, as I often say in the church, you can disagree as long as you agree to disagree agreeably.

 

Disunity occurs when we choose that we want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. When Paul writes about lawsuits between believers he says this…

 

1 Corinthians 6:7 (ESV Strong’s)

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

 

In your home, in your marriage, in your relationships with kids and parents, why take offence? I’m not saying you should become a doormat, but many times we love being right more than we love the other party. I can believe I am right, but still treat you with respect and love if I choose to do so.

 

However, what often happens is that one party stands their ground and insists on being right while the other capitulates and gives in every time. If both of you love each other more than the argument unity is achievable.

 

 

4.      REACTING RATHER THAN RESPONDING

 

So many of us react rather than respond, which can kill unity in the home. When we don’t like things, when we have a disagreement, when we feel hurt or overlooked or persecuted, we often tend to have a knee-jerk reaction (which could be shortened to a jerk reaction, as in being a jerk!)

 

The knee-jerk response is a measurement by doctors of our traction time. It involves a nervous reflex which does not involve the brain, so you make this reaction without conscious thought.

 

As a general rule, when you feel offended, the first reaction is usually neither productive nor the one you want. If, every time you faced conflict, you came apart for half an hour before responding, you would find that both sides will tend to make a more rational, more controlled and more balanced approach.

 

If you respond rather react you will preserve unity far better than if you explode as soon as you’re offended or not happy. Works with the kids, the wife, the dog, the boss and the pastor!

 

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV Strong’s)

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence.

 

 

5.      HOLDING ON TO THE OFFENCE

 

And here is the clincher for ruining unity in the home. If you want to ruin your family, ruin your church or anything else, never let go of offence. Jesus instructs us…

 

Luke 17:3-4 (ESV Strong’s)

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

 

Why should you forgive them so many times? Does Jesus care if you’re right? I mean, I some men say, married a woman I knew that for me was Miss right, I just didn’t realise her first name was always!

 

Jesus commands you to forgive the other’s offence because if you don’t do this, it hurts you far more than it hurts them! It’s like you drinking poison hoping the other guy dies.

 

I have branches of my extended family who haven’t spoken to each other for years. I know of Christians who have been to church every week with people that they haven’t spoken to for years. Holding onto offence never ends well. If you have long term issues with your spouse or kids, pray, swallow your need to be right no matter what and forgive them. Forgiveness creates unity in the home.

 

Paul’s advice is this…

Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV Strong’s)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

 

You may not be able to settle every argument on the day, although it is a good things to aim at, but what Paul says is don’t hold onto it. The longer you remain angry, the more damage you will do, to your relationship and also to yourself. You are better off giving it to the Lord and letting Him sort it than hanging on, feeling self justified but miserable and alienated.

 

6.      GOING COLD

 

If you choose to hold onto offence long enough, something within you and your relationship can die, along with unity in the home.

 

Jesus said to the church at Ephesus

 

Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV Strong’s)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.

 

The church at Ephesus were doing all the right things, looked pious and godly on the surface, but had lost that first love, that sense of wonder that we all have when we fall in love.

 

So, husbands and wives, do not forsake your first love. When you have conflict or disharmony, it is tempting to focus on the disharmony, but most often the current issue is never the real issue. We tend to sweep it up and shovel it under the bed, then gloss it over and come to church.  But I would urge you to look back and regain your first love. I am not talking about gooey feelings here, but the commitment you once had.

 

When you first stood before the altar and said your wedding vows, remember that. When you first held that little baby in your arms, the same one who has grown up and you’re now fighting with, remember that first love.

 

Going cold towards the other person, giving them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment does not solve the problem.  You need honest, open and frank discussion, without threats, screaming or cursing. If you have a conflict with your kids, sit them down and talk about it. If it’s between spouses, find a time to sit with a coffee and share openly and honestly.

 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

 

The fact is, if you are struggling in your marriage or family relationships you are not the only ones. This is happening right across society and I believe especially in the church. The enemy is attacking. The best way to destroy the ministry of a church is to destroy the families within it. You may not feel that your family is being destroyed, but many including myself are starting to feel the pressure against unity in the home.

 

Fiona and I are going away camping this week because, when we  are here, we are so busy we often get zero time together. Two workaholics need to be careful, and take steps to improve their relationship! So what practical steps can you take if you feel the enemy is attacking your family?

 

1.      PRAY FOR PROTECTION AND UNITY IN THE HOME

 

Psalms 57:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

 

Your Heavenly Father longs to protect you. As we sang, He longs to hide you in the shadow of His wings. The first thing you should do is pray for the blood of Jesus to cover your family, and then the enemy will have no choice but to Passover your family, just as the Israelites experienced in the 10th plague.

 

Praying together as a family also can help, although if kids or spouses are not Christians, this is obviously not always an option. Remember, the family that prays together stays together!

 

2.      DRAW NEAR TO GOD

 

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.

 

Get into your daily quiet times, listen to podcasts and sermons, read Christian books. If you do everything you can to draw close to God He promises to draw near to you, and many times you will draw closer to each other as a result.

 

3.      GUARD YOUR MOUTH

 

If you have issues with your family members, pray don’t say!

 

James 3:5 (ESV Strong’s)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

 

How many of us have created havoc by the rash words we have spoken in anger? How many times have we, in anger or frustration, said things we regret?  Things that have destroyed unity in the home.

 

Bill Newman tells of a woman who had been saying horrible things about the pastor. She felt convicted and apologised to the pastor, but he had a strange request… go to the local mountain, cut open a pillow and throw all of the feathers to the wind. She did this, and then the pastor said one more thing… could you go and pick them all up please?

 

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV Strong’s)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

 

Watch what you say, speak life not death to your family, and also watch how you say it! Eg: I’m sorry I love you

 

 

4.      OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION

 

If the situation is explosive, it’s great to back off and take the time to respond appropriately. This doesn’t mean the silent treatment for days, weeks, months or years. To resolve anything, you will need to talk, and talk honestly and openly.  So guys in particular, don’t run and hide in the shed… make time, schedule time in my case, to talk.

 

A couple in counselling… the woman complains “He never tells me he loves me.” The man replies, “I told you when we got married, and if I ever change my mind I will let you know!”

 

Learn to speak, even if it is not your way, and learn to speak words that build up, not pull down. Words that promote unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV Strong’s)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

CHOOSE NOW

 

Look, I know we all, myself included, have said a lot of rough things to those we love, our wives, husbands, kids, brothers and sister, especially when we are under pressure. You cannot take them back, but you can apologise.

 

And changes in your family and relationships start with a decision, a commitment if you will. You can fall in love again, you can have the relationships you want, but you have to decide to do it. Remember, the devil is out to bring you down, and the little foxes spoil the vines… those little irritations, neglected and glossed over, cause major breakups and destroy marriages time and time again.

 

So I’m going to ask you to be honest right now. Is there pressure on your marriage, on your relationships with kids, grandkids, siblings or even church family that aren’t ideal? Have you exploded, ignored or withdrawn in the most important relationships you have.

 

Valentine’s Day this week was all about love. But love is a commitment, and a commitment requires a choice. Ideally, you both commit to each other, but if the other party is too angry or withdrawn, will you be the bigger one and make the choice for establishing unity in the home?

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong’s)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

 

Satan is attacking our families, but we won’t stand for it! We don’t want to lose one marriage, one family, one child, we want to be fully committed to each other and to the Lord’s service.

 

If you have tension, undue pressure on your home, your marriage or your relationship with your kids stand up for unity in the home.

 

Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV Strong’s)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

Unity in the home begets blessing, so if you want your marriage and family blessed, come forward.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2406

Success 1- How to Achieve Success in Life

Success in Life is something everyone wants. Every single one of us wants to be successful in life. No one starts out life with the dream of becoming a failure. You ask a child what they want to become in their life, they says things like, “I want to be a fireman, a doctor, a pastor, a mother.” No child wants to become a drug addict, a wino, a homeless vagabond or a criminal.

So where do we go wrong as we grow, and how can we achieve lasting success. And by lasting, I mean eternal, not something that blossoms for a few years here in earth then fades to nothing in eternity?

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?

What does success look like to you? It looks different for many people, depending on what they themselves are into. Success for a footballer might be playing for their country or winning a premiership, while success for a musician is having a hit record. A painter wants to sell a painting for megabucks, while a businessman sees success as making money or climbing the corporate ladder.

 

So what constitutes success in life for you? Is it having a nice house it? Is it being famous or being praised by your peers? Is it finding the right wife or husband? What does success look like, and what do you actually pray for?

 

Genesis 24:12 (ESV Strong’s)

And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.

 

Now many people have prayed for success in finding a life partner… some may be doing that right now! But many of us have prayed for success in exams, sports, business or other things in life. We tend tell God what we want to have happen and pray for success, for Him to crown our efforts and bless us with success.

 

I’M SO CONFUSED ABOUT SUCCESS IN LIFE!

 

As Christians we often have a confused view of what true success in life actually is. When surrounded by other people constantly pushing to succeed, people of faith often struggle with the place and pursuit of success. The world tells us what success should look like, but for believers we have a vague notion that this isn’t real success and that God has a better plan, right?

 

Some believe material success always represents a compromise of spiritual convictions. Others feel success signals that God is pleased with them. I believe that neither of these extremes are necessarily true.

 

Still other Christians say they are not interested in success, and many use their lack of striving for success as  an excuse for poor performance in key areas of life. If we cease to strive for success, we often satisfy ourselves with a second rate performance.

 

The issue is not whether we as believers should strive for success, because every one of us would agree that God deserves our best, but the real issue revolves around the question of what success really is.

 

The issue of success is complex and charged with emotion. But these observations may prove helpful:

 

 

1.      TRUE SUCCESS IN LIFE IS DEFINED BY GOD NOT MAN

 

True success in life is defined by God, not by man and what people tell us constitutes success.  We often pray for God to prosper us, and it is His desire to prosper us to success as defined by Him.

 

3 John 1:2 (ESV Strong’s)

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

 

3 John 1:2 (KJV)

Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.

 

So God wants us to prosper, in health and every way, but above all He wants our souls to prosper, clearly a different measure of success than the world offers!

 

Worldly success, the success that we are constantly told to strive for, implies striving to meet a set of standards established by a person or group. Those standards may be false or true, but I would suggest that they do not constitute true success. For the Christian, only God can define true success! Consider these people…

 

Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, Janice Joplin, Heath Ledger, Robin Williams, Amy Winehouse, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ernest Hemingway … so many have achieved incredible success in their field of music, writing or acting, they were famous, they were rich, but found that when they achieved the success for which they strived for,  the result was an emptiness inside, and they took their own lives.

 

Mark 8:36 (ESV Strong’s)

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

 

 

2.      SUCCESS IN LIFE EXACTS A COST

 

Obtaining success in life always involves a cost. It requires time, ability, and resources that may have been better invested in other areas. For example working long hours may bring a temporary promotion but you might lose the joy of working, lose your relationship with your spouse or weaken relationships with Christians who keep you joyful and accountable.

 

What good is it to work hard getting a business off the ground only to find that you lose your family because you are never home?

 

Then again, sometimes investing long hours in a job may be exactly God’s plan for this particular season and this job. We cannot sit back and hope that success will roll on down the line to us. Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

 

So any success in life takes effort…

Your job is to invest the effort where it achieves long lasting, eternal and true success in life .

 

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.

 

Everything worthwhile costs something. As Gordon Hinkley said, “Without hard work nothing grows but weeds.”

 

It costs you time and commitment to come to church, to do the Bible reading plan, to attend a connect group, but they are great steps towards success in your relationship with God. Don’t invest time, money and effort in a short term gain… play the long games for eternity!

 

3.      EACH PERSON CAN CHOOSE WHAT TO PURSUE

 

The pursuit of success is made or denied by each person. No one can make someone else pursue success. You might say you want success in a particular area, but I can’t make you pursue it, only you can.

 

I have seen Christians pursue all kinds of things, some good, some bad, some important, some just a complete waste of time. So which successes are wise to pursue, and which are foolish to pursue?

 

Joshua 24:15 (ESV Strong’s)

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

The pursuit of success is a choice… your way, or God’s way?

 

As we pursue success—and as we choose what success to pursue—we can ask three questions:

 

  1. Who determines what success means for me? You, your parents, your family, your church… or God?
  2. What am I choosing by pursing this particular success? Am I choosing the eternal or something temporary?
  3. What should I, and should I not, invest to achieve this success?

 

A STORY OF FAILURE AND SUCCESS

 

Luke 5 tells the familiar story of a time where Peter and his fishing partners, James and John, went fishing and caught nothing. This is an interesting story of both failure and success in the life of Peter, a man we can all relate to with real triumphs and also real failures in his life.

 

The thing that turned his failure into success is really quite simple. I mean, he had fished all night and caught zip! This is roughly the equivalent of my fishing prowess.  But when Jesus came on board his little boat, things took a dramatic turn.

 

Jesus gave specific instructions that a somewhat reluctant Peter followed.

 

Luke 5:4-7 (ESV Strong’s)

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

 

Now Peter and the boys had been fishing, they had been doing what was their calling, their skill. They had been striving for success as they understood it, for prosperity in fish. They had chosen what to pursue, you could argue it was their God given mandate as fishermen, and they had certainly toiled and worked hard.

 

 

Peter’s problem up to this point, which had caused him to have empty nets, was that he was engaged in undirected service. In other words, God had not told him to do what he was doing, he had just assumed that if he worked hard God would bless his efforts.

 

But there was no lasting fruit. There were no great results. There was no success, not because he was sinning or out of God’s will.  He was working and getting nowhere, spinning his wheels trying to get success, and the result was that he had toiled all night and caught nothing.

 

Like Peter, maybe you know what it’s like to try and do something for God, only to end up failing.  Hopefully, the principles we’ll be looking at over the next several weeks will help you discover where you went wrong, and help you to really attain success in the areas that matter.

 

NOT AS THICK AS SOME

 

I must confess, I am pretty dopey at times when it comes to situations like this.  Instead of pausing to reevaluate, I just knuckle down and keep plowing ahead, hoping against hope that things will get better, often finding I dig myself further into the mire rather than out of it! Is anyone else like that? Sometimes I think if brains were dynamite I would struggle to blow my nose!

 

How often we have begun a work for God that bears no fruit, because we have not really been directed by Him… but we’ve chosen what we think God wants and told Him to bless it? How often we have entered into a business deal or a relationship that is a disaster, because we failed to consult with the Lord. And even then, we don’t ask a Him or pull out, we ignore Him and keep plowing on!

 

If we are smart, we will learn to fail forward—which means that we will learn from the mistakes we have made and hopefully not make them again.

 

I’m sure that, looking back on the fishing expedition, Peter could quickly see that while the job he did was not bad or evil, he was outside of the will of God. He was not being directed by God. And when he finally obeyed, when he reluctantly did as God told and directed him, he saw the success he longed for.

 

And I believe many times in our lives, we miss what God wants to do, because we don’t take the first step. We don’t ask God, we tell God what we want to do and demand He bless us. And if we do ask, we often don’t listen and obey.

 

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV Strong’s)

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

 

If you want God to tell you His agenda for your life for the next month or the next year, you’re not going to get it. God establishes our steps one at a time. He wants you to obey Him and take the first step He has already shown you. Why should He roll out His plans for your life when you won’t even obey the first step, or the next step?

 

Many times we don’t see what it is God wants to do in our lives.  We just say, “I don’t want to do that”, or “thanks God, I can take it from here!” So we end up missing out. God wants to do something great in your life. He wants to do a miracle, He wants to move you into unbelievable success, eternal success in your life, but you have to obey.

 

If we live our lives God’s way and in God’s timing, our nets will be breaking, just as Peter’s net was, because it is directed service. How often have we wasted days, months, years, or even a lifetime pursuing things that are not the will of God for us.

 

 

Success, you see, true, lasting, eternal success, depends on you simply yielding to God, giving your life totally to Him and asking Him onto your boat—or into your life. But it also depends on you being obedient and allowing Him to be in control. There are many choices in life, and many of the choices are good. But you don’t want good choices, you want God choices.  This makes all the difference in the world. Same for the church… we don’t want good choices, we want God choices!

 

ONLY ONE SHOT AT LIFE

 

This week I attended the funeral of a lovely young lady called Ruth. She has gone to be with the Lord, and I can tell you there is nothing so sobering as sitting in front of a coffin and contemplating your own mortality. Ruth’s short life of only 32 years was a life well led, and much loved. Likely you will get a lot longer than she had, so what will you do with the time you are given on earth. What will they say on your gravestone with all the years you’ve been given?

 

Hebrews 9:27 (ESV Strong’s)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

 

We all, you and I, have an appointment with death. God may call us home in 40 years time, or perhaps much sooner than that. You don’t get another life, you don’t get a rewind button, you cannot unscramble the egg that is your life, your choices, your successes and your failures.

 

Statisticians tell us that 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, and 11,000 every hour. That means that every day 250,000 people enter into eternity.

 

So what will they write on your gravestone? Will they write that you were a great businessman, or a great mum? What success will you be remembered by?

 

More importantly, how does God see your successes and failures? If this is the only life you get on earth, how can you make it a success for eternity, a success in God’s eyes? Someone one said, “Only one life, twill soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

 

WHAT IS THE SUCCESS IN LIFE YOU STRIVE FOR?

 

So what is the success in life you strive for? Many people simply don’t strive for any success in life at all, but are content to just float along, wasting the gifts God has given them. I don’t know about you, but I want more than that! I want to serve Jesus with all of my life, because that is fruit that lasts.

 

Many people are just treading water in their life. They are merely marking time, instead of enjoying real success in their lives. Their favourite day of the week is “someday.” Someday my ship will come in. Someday my prince (or princess) will come. Someday it’s all going to get better. Someday my life will change. Someday, when I’m financially set up, I will start serving the Lord. In a recent study ninety-four percent of the people surveyed said they were simply enduring the present, while “waiting for something better to happen.”

 

But here’s what people don’t plan on. They don’t plan on death. And they never envision it coming around the corner unexpectedly. When you’re young you tell yourself, “I don’t have to even think about that for another fifty or sixty years.” And that may true, or it may not be true. But death knocks at every door.

 

In this series on how to achieve success in life, I want to shake us all out of our comfortable existences and open out eyes to the greatness of what God has called us to be, not just for ourselves, but for our families, our church, our community and our nation. I don’t care how successful you are in business, in your job, in the stock market or realestate or bitcoin. That stuff fades, falls, and I want to challenge you today to lift your eyes and focus on the Lord, and do what He calls you to do. I challenge you to take your eyes off worldly success and focus, even strain and strive towards eternal goals, the true success in life God has for you…

 

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV Strong’s)

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Most of us are afraid of dying, but many of us are also afraid of living. Afraid of trusting God, afraid that His success may not equate with success that we want. Paul earlier said this…

 

Philippians 3:7-8 (ESV Strong’s)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

 

Paul laid all his earthly success aside, the fame, the fortune, the learning, the earning, the prestige… everything, and he saw that true success is what we do for the Lord.

 

You have one life. You can waste it, you can invest it in something that ultimately doesn’t matter, you can put the nets out and order God to bless your efforts, or you can ask God what He wants to do with your life.

 

Question: What is the success in life you are striving for?  Is it what God wants for you? Does it really matter in eternity?

 

Now give it, whatever it is, to God right now.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2399

Success 1- How to Achieve Success in Life

Success in Life is something everyone wants. Every single one of us wants to be successful in life. No one starts out life with the dream of becoming a failure. You ask a child what they want to become in their life, they says things like, “I want to be a fireman, a doctor, a pastor, a mother.” No child wants to become a drug addict, a wino, a homeless vagabond or a criminal.

So where do we go wrong as we grow, and how can we achieve lasting success. And by lasting, I mean eternal, not something that blossoms for a few years here in earth then fades to nothing in eternity?

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?

What does success look like to you? It looks different for many people, depending on what they themselves are into. Success for a footballer might be playing for their country or winning a premiership, while success for a musician is having a hit record. A painter wants to sell a painting for megabucks, while a businessman sees success as making money or climbing the corporate ladder.

 

So what constitutes success in life for you? Is it having a nice house it? Is it being famous or being praised by your peers? Is it finding the right wife or husband? What does success look like, and what do you actually pray for?

 

Genesis 24:12 (ESV Strong’s)

And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.

 

Now many people have prayed for success in finding a life partner… some may be doing that right now! But many of us have prayed for success in exams, sports, business or other things in life. We tend tell God what we want to have happen and pray for success, for Him to crown our efforts and bless us with success.

 

I’M SO CONFUSED ABOUT SUCCESS IN LIFE!

 

As Christians we often have a confused view of what true success in life actually is. When surrounded by other people constantly pushing to succeed, people of faith often struggle with the place and pursuit of success. The world tells us what success should look like, but for believers we have a vague notion that this isn’t real success and that God has a better plan, right?

 

Some believe material success always represents a compromise of spiritual convictions. Others feel success signals that God is pleased with them. I believe that neither of these extremes are necessarily true.

 

Still other Christians say they are not interested in success, and many use their lack of striving for success as  an excuse for poor performance in key areas of life. If we cease to strive for success, we often satisfy ourselves with a second rate performance.

 

The issue is not whether we as believers should strive for success, because every one of us would agree that God deserves our best, but the real issue revolves around the question of what success really is.

 

The issue of success is complex and charged with emotion. But these observations may prove helpful:

 

 

1.      TRUE SUCCESS IN LIFE IS DEFINED BY GOD NOT MAN

 

True success in life is defined by God, not by man and what people tell us constitutes success.  We often pray for God to prosper us, and it is His desire to prosper us to success as defined by Him.

 

3 John 1:2 (ESV Strong’s)

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

 

3 John 1:2 (KJV)

Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.

 

So God wants us to prosper, in health and every way, but above all He wants our souls to prosper, clearly a different measure of success than the world offers!

 

Worldly success, the success that we are constantly told to strive for, implies striving to meet a set of standards established by a person or group. Those standards may be false or true, but I would suggest that they do not constitute true success. For the Christian, only God can define true success! Consider these people…

 

Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, Janice Joplin, Heath Ledger, Robin Williams, Amy Winehouse, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ernest Hemingway … so many have achieved incredible success in their field of music, writing or acting, they were famous, they were rich, but found that when they achieved the success for which they strived for,  the result was an emptiness inside, and they took their own lives.

 

Mark 8:36 (ESV Strong’s)

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

 

 

2.      SUCCESS IN LIFE EXACTS A COST

 

Obtaining success in life always involves a cost. It requires time, ability, and resources that may have been better invested in other areas. For example working long hours may bring a temporary promotion but you might lose the joy of working, lose your relationship with your spouse or weaken relationships with Christians who keep you joyful and accountable.

 

What good is it to work hard getting a business off the ground only to find that you lose your family because you are never home?

 

Then again, sometimes investing long hours in a job may be exactly God’s plan for this particular season and this job. We cannot sit back and hope that success will roll on down the line to us. Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

 

So any success in life takes effort…

Your job is to invest the effort where it achieves long lasting, eternal and true success in life .

 

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.

 

Everything worthwhile costs something. As Gordon Hinkley said, “Without hard work nothing grows but weeds.”

 

It costs you time and commitment to come to church, to do the Bible reading plan, to attend a connect group, but they are great steps towards success in your relationship with God. Don’t invest time, money and effort in a short term gain… play the long games for eternity!

 

3.      EACH PERSON CAN CHOOSE WHAT TO PURSUE

 

The pursuit of success is made or denied by each person. No one can make someone else pursue success. You might say you want success in a particular area, but I can’t make you pursue it, only you can.

 

I have seen Christians pursue all kinds of things, some good, some bad, some important, some just a complete waste of time. So which successes are wise to pursue, and which are foolish to pursue?

 

Joshua 24:15 (ESV Strong’s)

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

The pursuit of success is a choice… your way, or God’s way?

 

As we pursue success—and as we choose what success to pursue—we can ask three questions:

 

  1. Who determines what success means for me? You, your parents, your family, your church… or God?
  2. What am I choosing by pursing this particular success? Am I choosing the eternal or something temporary?
  3. What should I, and should I not, invest to achieve this success?

 

A STORY OF FAILURE AND SUCCESS

 

Luke 5 tells the familiar story of a time where Peter and his fishing partners, James and John, went fishing and caught nothing. This is an interesting story of both failure and success in the life of Peter, a man we can all relate to with real triumphs and also real failures in his life.

 

The thing that turned his failure into success is really quite simple. I mean, he had fished all night and caught zip! This is roughly the equivalent of my fishing prowess.  But when Jesus came on board his little boat, things took a dramatic turn.

 

Jesus gave specific instructions that a somewhat reluctant Peter followed.

 

Luke 5:4-7 (ESV Strong’s)

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

 

Now Peter and the boys had been fishing, they had been doing what was their calling, their skill. They had been striving for success as they understood it, for prosperity in fish. They had chosen what to pursue, you could argue it was their God given mandate as fishermen, and they had certainly toiled and worked hard.

 

 

Peter’s problem up to this point, which had caused him to have empty nets, was that he was engaged in undirected service. In other words, God had not told him to do what he was doing, he had just assumed that if he worked hard God would bless his efforts.

 

But there was no lasting fruit. There were no great results. There was no success, not because he was sinning or out of God’s will.  He was working and getting nowhere, spinning his wheels trying to get success, and the result was that he had toiled all night and caught nothing.

 

Like Peter, maybe you know what it’s like to try and do something for God, only to end up failing.  Hopefully, the principles we’ll be looking at over the next several weeks will help you discover where you went wrong, and help you to really attain success in the areas that matter.

 

NOT AS THICK AS SOME

 

I must confess, I am pretty dopey at times when it comes to situations like this.  Instead of pausing to reevaluate, I just knuckle down and keep plowing ahead, hoping against hope that things will get better, often finding I dig myself further into the mire rather than out of it! Is anyone else like that? Sometimes I think if brains were dynamite I would struggle to blow my nose!

 

How often we have begun a work for God that bears no fruit, because we have not really been directed by Him… but we’ve chosen what we think God wants and told Him to bless it? How often we have entered into a business deal or a relationship that is a disaster, because we failed to consult with the Lord. And even then, we don’t ask a Him or pull out, we ignore Him and keep plowing on!

 

If we are smart, we will learn to fail forward—which means that we will learn from the mistakes we have made and hopefully not make them again.

 

I’m sure that, looking back on the fishing expedition, Peter could quickly see that while the job he did was not bad or evil, he was outside of the will of God. He was not being directed by God. And when he finally obeyed, when he reluctantly did as God told and directed him, he saw the success he longed for.

 

And I believe many times in our lives, we miss what God wants to do, because we don’t take the first step. We don’t ask God, we tell God what we want to do and demand He bless us. And if we do ask, we often don’t listen and obey.

 

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV Strong’s)

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

 

If you want God to tell you His agenda for your life for the next month or the next year, you’re not going to get it. God establishes our steps one at a time. He wants you to obey Him and take the first step He has already shown you. Why should He roll out His plans for your life when you won’t even obey the first step, or the next step?

 

Many times we don’t see what it is God wants to do in our lives.  We just say, “I don’t want to do that”, or “thanks God, I can take it from here!” So we end up missing out. God wants to do something great in your life. He wants to do a miracle, He wants to move you into unbelievable success, eternal success in your life, but you have to obey.

 

If we live our lives God’s way and in God’s timing, our nets will be breaking, just as Peter’s net was, because it is directed service. How often have we wasted days, months, years, or even a lifetime pursuing things that are not the will of God for us.

 

 

Success, you see, true, lasting, eternal success, depends on you simply yielding to God, giving your life totally to Him and asking Him onto your boat—or into your life. But it also depends on you being obedient and allowing Him to be in control. There are many choices in life, and many of the choices are good. But you don’t want good choices, you want God choices.  This makes all the difference in the world. Same for the church… we don’t want good choices, we want God choices!

 

ONLY ONE SHOT AT LIFE

 

This week I attended the funeral of a lovely young lady called Ruth. She has gone to be with the Lord, and I can tell you there is nothing so sobering as sitting in front of a coffin and contemplating your own mortality. Ruth’s short life of only 32 years was a life well led, and much loved. Likely you will get a lot longer than she had, so what will you do with the time you are given on earth. What will they say on your gravestone with all the years you’ve been given?

 

Hebrews 9:27 (ESV Strong’s)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

 

We all, you and I, have an appointment with death. God may call us home in 40 years time, or perhaps much sooner than that. You don’t get another life, you don’t get a rewind button, you cannot unscramble the egg that is your life, your choices, your successes and your failures.

 

Statisticians tell us that 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, and 11,000 every hour. That means that every day 250,000 people enter into eternity.

 

So what will they write on your gravestone? Will they write that you were a great businessman, or a great mum? What success will you be remembered by?

 

More importantly, how does God see your successes and failures? If this is the only life you get on earth, how can you make it a success for eternity, a success in God’s eyes? Someone one said, “Only one life, twill soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

 

WHAT IS THE SUCCESS IN LIFE YOU STRIVE FOR?

 

So what is the success in life you strive for? Many people simply don’t strive for any success in life at all, but are content to just float along, wasting the gifts God has given them. I don’t know about you, but I want more than that! I want to serve Jesus with all of my life, because that is fruit that lasts.

 

Many people are just treading water in their life. They are merely marking time, instead of enjoying real success in their lives. Their favourite day of the week is “someday.” Someday my ship will come in. Someday my prince (or princess) will come. Someday it’s all going to get better. Someday my life will change. Someday, when I’m financially set up, I will start serving the Lord. In a recent study ninety-four percent of the people surveyed said they were simply enduring the present, while “waiting for something better to happen.”

 

But here’s what people don’t plan on. They don’t plan on death. And they never envision it coming around the corner unexpectedly. When you’re young you tell yourself, “I don’t have to even think about that for another fifty or sixty years.” And that may true, or it may not be true. But death knocks at every door.

 

In this series on how to achieve success in life, I want to shake us all out of our comfortable existences and open out eyes to the greatness of what God has called us to be, not just for ourselves, but for our families, our church, our community and our nation. I don’t care how successful you are in business, in your job, in the stock market or realestate or bitcoin. That stuff fades, falls, and I want to challenge you today to lift your eyes and focus on the Lord, and do what He calls you to do. I challenge you to take your eyes off worldly success and focus, even strain and strive towards eternal goals, the true success in life God has for you…

 

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV Strong’s)

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Most of us are afraid of dying, but many of us are also afraid of living. Afraid of trusting God, afraid that His success may not equate with success that we want. Paul earlier said this…

 

Philippians 3:7-8 (ESV Strong’s)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

 

Paul laid all his earthly success aside, the fame, the fortune, the learning, the earning, the prestige… everything, and he saw that true success is what we do for the Lord.

 

You have one life. You can waste it, you can invest it in something that ultimately doesn’t matter, you can put the nets out and order God to bless your efforts, or you can ask God what He wants to do with your life.

 

Question: What is the success in life you are striving for?  Is it what God wants for you? Does it really matter in eternity?

 

Now give it, whatever it is, to God right now.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2399

302- Worship Leader Goal Setting

Worship leader goal setting is the title of this week’s podcast, and let’s face it, all of us need to hear this!  Last week we looked at the team’s goals, but this week we pull back the curtain to reveal our own personal goals for the year and the kind of personal and ministry goals you should have as a worship leader.

Worship Leader Goal Setting

When you are a worship leader goal setting should be an important part of facing the New Year. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it all the time, so setting the right goals for your worship leading, and your own walk with God, is definitely a priority.

As a worship leader, and also as a believer, you should have goals and aims as you approach the year.  In this podcast, Darin and Erick share their own goals and how they are planning to achieve them, as well as making suggestions for your goals and the way in which you should not only set them but go about achieving them.

This is something we should all be listening to and acting upon because each of us only gets one life to invest in the things of God.   You can waste this one life of yours, or you can choose to maximise what it is you are doing for Christ.  As a worship leader and someone in ministry, I believe that it is imperative that we stop every so often and examine what it is that we are doing, and see whether that fits into the goals we have in our lives and ministries. SO many of us work so hard investing time, money and effort into things that ultimately achieve little and are worth nothing in eternity.

So settle back and seek the Lord in this fun podcast…

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/?p=5490

Responding to Islam- Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis shares an exciting and topical presentation on how we as Christians should be responding to Islam.

Not Reacting but Responding to Islam

Kevin reveals some of the historical background of Islam, and how the Koran points to the person of Jesus Christ.  He encourages us to love and pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters all around the world so that we can make a difference, and he shares exciting and up to date information on how the Spirit is moving among Islamic populations across the world drawing them to Jesus.

Across the Western world, people are reacting to the threat of Islamic militants with fear from the common man in the street right through to the highest level of government. So how should Christians be responding to Islam, and how should we as a church extend our love to Muslims around the world?

The truth is that most Muslims are not terrorists, and they are not actively seeking the demise of Christian churches.  Most Muslims are just like you or me… wanting to live a great and productive life, caring for their families and striving to live at peace with those around them.  The trouble is that the militant arm of Islam is giving every other Muslim a bad name!

And in the middle of all this, God is doing incredible things amongst Muslims. As Christians, we must choose the right and godly way of responding to Islam, with a message of love and hope rather than fear and condemnation. Kevin encourages all those who know the Lord to pray for Muslim countries and pray that they are not only blessed but also that Muslims will seek to know the one to whom there are nearly 90n references in the Koran, Jesus Christ.

This incredibly insightful and topical message, a must for every believer who loves the Lord and wants to see the world won for Christ, really got us excited at Ignite!

https://ignitechurch.org.au/?p=2376