Learning How to Lead Worship Effectively in a Conservative Church

Learning how to lead worship inside a conservative church is a real challenge, but I believe that it is a sound and worthwhile thing to pursue.

Does YouTube Show You How to Lead Worship Effectively?

Have a look at some of the awesome praise and worship leading displayed on YouTube and you will certainly be inspired to lead effective worship.  Here is the catch… almost all the clips you are watching take place in mega churches or huge conferences, most of which are very Pentecostal or charismatic in nature!

So, in a more conservative church, is it possible to apply some of the ideas showcase on these clips and learn how to lead worship in your local church, regardless of the denomination?

Th answer lies in being wise and choosing the right techniques and ideas to apply, not transplanting the entire performance into your local church!

Many conservative churches long to have powerful worship in their meetings, but do not want what they perceive as some of the excesses that many Pentecostal churches have.

Learning How to Lead Worship… What is In, and What is Out?

 

Firstly, anything that is offensive to your denomination is foolish to try and bring into your conservative church. If your people don’t raise their hands, learning how to lead worship effectively must involve you not commanding people from stage to do the very thing they hate! So if I was leading worship in this environment, I would not instruct people to raise their hands.

Next, and style of music that potentially offends your people should be avoided.  Many in more conservative churches dislike heavy or hard rock, so I would only be leading worship that is more subdued with perhaps a soft rock or folk basis.

Finally, choose the songs carefully, because doing songs that are theologically dubious is sure to cause offence!  When exploring how to lead worship in a conservative church environment, I would make sure that almost all the songs were those my people recognize and love.

And yes, in a more stayed church it is a perfect opportunity to do beautiful arrangements of hymns.  Hymns do not have to be boring and dull, but if you do them right, they can become masterpieces of God’s love, touching hearts in both conservative and charismatic congregations.

So if you are learning how to lead worship in a more traditional church, be careful what you command people to do, choose a style that most will love, and do songs they know, especially new or even rock arrangements of some of the classic hymns. With a little bit of wisdom and care, and the right training, you can have a major impact on your local conservative church and touch people’s lives every time your lead worship!

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/how-to-lead-worship-2/learning-how-to-lead-worship/

324- Jealousy in the Worship Team

Jealousy can become a destructive force in any worship team.

You know the drill… someone else does something better than you, or someone else sees you doing something better than them.  Without doubts, jealousy and rivalry is a curse in almost every band on earth, but it is a particularly destructive element in your worship team!

Jealousy is More than a Feeling

Jealousy is more than just envying someone else’s ability. It can take many forms, and all of them are bad!  In fact, many worship teams have been blown apart by jealous individuals, and especially if those people are envious of the leader of the team.  Attacks against leadership can ruin the fellowship of a worship team and can destroy the anointing of the team what they need the Holy Spirit most… When they are leading their church in worship!

So why do we tolerate such a destructive force in our worship teams?  Part of the reason is that much of this sin, and it is a sin, folks, happens internally… In our heads.  So we might smile sweetly and look like we are rejoicing in someone else’s ability and skill, but underneath we are fuming and wishing we were like them.  This is a hidden sin in our life, and people only recognise it when suddenly bad attitudes or behaviour comes out.

In this podcast, the guys discuss jealousy both from yourself towards others, and from them towards you, and how you can make your worship team a jealousy-free zone.  And if you truly want to excel in your worship leading, this is a problem you need to deal with swiftly and lovingly, because it has the power to truly destroy all your good work and your dreams of the future in your ministry!

So listen to this podcast and don’t be jealous of anyone else, because God has anointed you to be you… Just make sure you are the best you!

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/worship-leader-podcast/324-jealousy-in-the-worship-team/

323- Worship Leaders, Don’t Give Up!

Worship leaders, all of us feel down and discouraged at times.  I’m excited to bring you this podcast, because I know the Lord will speak to and encourage many who listen, to see beyond the current circumstances to your destiny!

Worship Leaders Have an Awesome Destiny

Worship leaders, you have an awesome destiny, and here’s the thing… destiny is not determined by circumstances, it is determined by the decisions you make.  And the best decision you can make right now is to decide to trust the Lord and believe in Him and to not give up.

Sometimes we feel like we are useless… Perhaps we might think we have no talent, maybe have no anointing, and the things that others say seem to inflate this sense of discouragement.  Words of criticism are never great, but we need to see beyond what people say (which after all, is usually nothing more than their opinion!).  This is especially true when it comes to people speaking against you who are close to you, maybe in your own family, maybe in your own worship team.

So our cry to you today worship leaders is, “Don’t Give Up!”  sometimes when things do not seem to be going well, we feel like giving up, but if you listen to this podcast, take the time to thank the Lord for His love and power in your life, and humbly agree to serve and honour Him, even when the feelings are not there, even when you are down and discouraged and ready to throw the towel in.

Worship leaders, young and old, new and experienced, whatever your church, your denomination, your age or your ability, this is for you… If you are down and discouraged, listen to this pod and believe that you are anointed, chosen of God and whatever you do, don’t give up!

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/worship-leader-podcast/323-worship-leaders-dont-give-up/

322- Worship Leading for an Altar Call

An altar call should be an important, even a pivotal part of your Sunday church service.

Worship Leading Sets the Mood for an Altar Call

OK, some churches do not have actual altar calls, but many times the pastor challenges the people to respond in some way.

Whether your pastor is challenging people to come forward for prayer, or whether they fill out cards, these are the crunch time for any church service. Worship leading plays a key role because it not only provides the background music and ambiance, but it can also spearhead what the pastor is saying, cutting straight to the heart of the listeners.

In this podcast, we talk about how important music is in any challenges during the church service, and we also look at the altar call itself, what you must do, what you must never do, and how you can serve your pastor to enhance his or her ministry.

In the usual altar call, the preacher challenges people about a particular topic and then asks them to respond, often (but not always) by bringing them forward. If this happens, your worship team is right in the middle, and your contribution can make all the difference.

Altar call ministry is something you need to get right every single time.  If you do something wrong, you can cause people who are thinking deeply about the things of God to stop doing so.  In fact, and this is not overexaggerating, your music may be responsible for bringing souls into the Kingdom, or (heaven forbid) driving them away from an eternity with Christ.

So please, worship leaders, listen to today’s podcast with fear and trembling but also excitement.  I have been a worship leader for a famous evangelist for more than 25 years, and I have seen God do absolutely amazing things in the altar call.  What a privilege to know that my music, worship leading and ministry has been a part of something big and etrnal in the life of someone I don’t even know!

So listen to this podcast and let’s ask the Lord to use us and our worship leading ministry to challenge the people in our churches…

 

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/worship-leader-podcast/322-worship-leading-for-an-altar-call/

Me in the Mirror 5- The Body of Christ

Do you see yourself as part of the body of Christ?  We have been asking the question, “When you look in the mirror, what do you see?” You should see yourself as valuable, as precious to God, and we discovered that you should see yourself as royalty, a child of the King, and as an ambassador, His representative to this troubled and dying world.

Today I want to ask the question, do you see yourself as part of the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-20 (ESV Strong’s)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

 

EVERYONE WANTS A BEAUTIFUL BODY

 

Standing in front of a mirror and looking at your body may have been replaced to a large degree by the selfie, but we all look in the mirror sometime and examine our bodies.

 

These days, it seems like everyone wants a beautiful body. Sadly I stand before you as an example of a not so beautiful body. I have a t shirt that says, “Exercise… I thought you said extra fries!”  I like food a lot, I don’t like exercise, and so this is the inevitable result, especially when you add in age!  My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and apparently, it needed a front porch, so I am working on that!

 

Paul in this passage is looking at the human body as an illustration of Christ and His Church.

 

1 Corinthians 12:12 (ESV Strong’s)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

 

When we come to Jesus we are all baptised into this one body. We are all royalty, and we are all ambassadors, but as believers we are all also part of His body the church, baptised into His Spirit, and given His Spirit to drink it says in verse 12.    The Greek for drink is the word potizo, which means to give a drink to someone, but also means to irrigate or saturate.

 

When you come to Christ you are covered over with His Spirit, immersed, irrigated, saturated in His Spirit. You don’t dabble, you don’t stick your toe in, you dive in, and so your sin is covered over, and if you hand over control to the Lord every aspect of your life, it is surrounded by His loving Spirit.

 

So when you come to Christ, you become part of His family, but also an essential part of His beautiful body, the body of Christ. He gives every one of us gifts, unique and special gifts so that we can bless and build up the body.

 

SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

When we come to Jesus, we receive salvation, we are adopted into His royal family, and we also are given spiritual gifts, not to build ourselves up and promote our own desires, but to serve each other and build up the body of Christ. We explore this in 201, so you should all make sure you catch that next time.

 

1 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV Strong’s)

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

 

Let’s make this important point, your gifts and your behaviour are not to promote you or have you get your own way, they are to bless others. If you think you have a gift and it offends or upsets others, either you are wrong about the gift, or you are misusing it.

 

1 Corinthians 12 and 14 contain the great teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially tongues and prophecy. Those chapters were written as a rebuke to the Corinthians, because they were misusing the gifts to promote their own way of doing things. These gifts have frequently divided and even destroyed churches instead of building them up, because people have said, “Its my gift, I’m using it and if it offends you, tough luck!”

 

Let me tell you that this is not God, and it’s the body of Christ in action. This passage clearly teaches that the gifts are to build others up, and this attitude never builds others up. Why do you think Paul talked about spiritual gifts, but right in the middle wrote the great chapter of love, 1 Corinthians 13.

 

If you have a spiritual gift, position or opinion and you value that gift more than you value others, this is not love, and we will have disunity.

 

BODY PARTS… A CHURCH AUTOPSY

 

The Church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is the head. That means all of us are part of His body… the church.  Just as the various parts of your body are different, yet they are still part of your body, so the various parts of the body of Christ are different, but still connected.

 

This is why this concept of being a Christian but not going to Church is not Biblical… we were made to function together, and independent spirits pretty much never grow in their faith or ministries. If you chopped off a foot, or poked out an eye, in a very short time the flesh starts to die. It is not helpful to the rest of the body when detached, and if left long enough it will die. That’s why we need the church, and you and I need to be part of the body of Christ, even though the body seems imperfect at times!

 

Romans 12:4-5 (ESV Strong’s)

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

 

So what can we draw from this illustration to speak to us today?

 

1.      EVERY BODY PART IS NECESSARY

 

I was always told that the appendix has no purpose, and it gets inflamed and has to be removed. However we now know that the appendix protects good bacteria in the gut, plays a role in the immune system and helps clean out the gut. Every part of the body is necessary.

 

And the same applies to the body of Christ, the church. Each and every one of you brings something special and unique to the body of Christ. You may not think you have anything to offer, but God created you and you are His child and His Spirit lives in you. Remember…

 

Psalms 139:14 (ESV Strong’s)

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

You have something to contribute to the family of God here at Ignite. I praise God that we have the best team here! Leadership, worship, admin, food, serving, kids, car parking, I wouldn’t swap any of you!  Every part of the body wants to feel necessary, so if you long to serve the Lord somehow, do 201 and let us support your ministry. Every one of us is necessary!

 

 

2.      EVERY BODY PART HAS AN ESSENTIAL FUNCTION

 

We are all different, and frankly sometimes we do not appreciate the differences in each other.  A friend use to say, “Why is it that every body of Christ has to have an armpit?” We sometimes cannot see the value in what another person does, but God sees it!

 

1 Corinthians 12:15-17 (ESV Strong’s)

If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

 

As humans, we are so quick to judge others for what they do and don’t do, and we are also often quick to project our gifting onto them. If we have a spiritual gift of prayer, we think everyone should pray as much as we do. If evangelism, we think everyone should talk to everyone about Jesus.

 

1 Corinthians 12:21 (ESV Strong’s)

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

 

We need each other, yet as sinful mankind we often overlook the seemingly insignificant people, and we chase after the pastor, the worship leader and all those with flashy jobs. Listen, we are all significant, and we all bring an essential function to the table. If you come to Ignite we are richer, but if you leave Ignite, this church is poorer, because what you do matters!

 

Part of my leadership here at Ignite is that I lean on the gifts of my team. I do not make any decisions by myself, I lean on my team, acknowledging that they are different to me, but complimentary.

 

So we need to not envy each other, or value some more than others in the body of Christ, but recognise each of us has an essential function in this place, and my calling as pastor is to release you to be all you can be in God, without pressure or forcing a square peg into a round hole. We do 201 so that people can serve where they are gifted. If you’re not ready to serve here, then it’s ok, because I’m not going to force you to do anything, but if you want to make a difference in the world, we can help you.

 

 

3.      EVERY BODY PART IS ARRANGED AS GOD WILLS

 

1 Corinthians 12:18 (ESV Strong’s)

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

 

Most of you do not have a foot growing out of your head, or an ear sticking out of your stomach. God arranges our bodies in a way that serves His purpose and makes sense.

 

You are not here by accident. This church is not just a way to fill in Sunday morning and make you feel like you’ve fulfilled your duty and gone to Church. No, we are the body of Christ, and we love that you are here, and we believe that God has set you here for His purpose in your life!

 

The Greek word for arranged in this passage is tithemi, which is derived from a word meaning laying down in a passive posture. So the meaning of this Scripture is that God lays out where you should function in the body of Christ… you don’t tell Him where you want to be, He places you where He knows you will thrive and become a functioning part of His body.

 

Am I saying you need to stay where you’re put and can never move? No, because God has greatness for you, so always aspire to what He has for you. But it means that you can trust God for Him to move you into a God given, Holy Spirit inspired destiny that will blow your mind!

 

 

4.      EVERY BODY PART IS DIFFERENT, YET THEY ALL FIT TOGETHER

 

Sometimes in church we are envious of someone else, their talents or position, or sometimes we look down on others who don’t seem as important as we think we are. Some prefer quiet roles like praying or serving, while others prefer up front roles like preaching, singing or leadership. No one role in Ignite is better or worse, greater or lesser… we are in the same team, just in different positions.

 

In 1 Corinthians 3 it talks about the rewards at the judgement seat of Christ…

 

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (ESV Strong’s)

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

 

I suspect that some high flying preachers and Christian singers will be left with a whole pile of ash on that day, and some of you who have loved and cared for the unlovely, who have waited tables, who have served without recognition and prayed faithfully will see gold, silver and costly stones.

 

At Ignite, we need to value each other, care for each other and love each other as members of the body of Christ. When someone wins, we all win. I’ve been watching the World Cup, and when the striker scores a winning goal, the goalie does not walk around saying, “I wanted to score that!” No, they all rejoice because when one wins, they all win!

 

THE VALUE OF A PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

Paul’s argument in our key text is that we all have a role to play, great or small, spectacular or quiet, and that it takes all of us to make up a healthy body of Christ. Every part has value… every part!

 

1 Corinthians 12:22-24 (ESV Strong’s)

On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,

 

The Lord sees those little things you do, the phone call to someone who has missed church, the cars you help park, the plate you clean, the weeding you do. As a pastor, I get the up front job, but this passage tells me that much of what you do is as important as what I do, and should be treated with special honour.

 

Unpresentable parts are given greater consideration in the body than presentable parts. We cover the reproductive bits and treat them with special modesty, and so the church should treat those who might be a little bit different with special honour. I recently attended Joel’s birthday party, and there were a whole range of very different people with intellectual disabilities.  We all had a blast together, it was great fun and I was honoured to share Joel’s special day with these unusual people.

 

Someone once said, “I value everyone because every person can teach me something I don’t know.”

 

THE VALUE OF THE WHOLE BODY

 

The body never exists on its own, but is a complex, interwoven being. The body only works effectively when all the parts are joined together, working together properly.

 

1 Corinthians 12:24-25 (ESV Strong’s)

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

 

The Greek for composed means tempered together, mixed, combined, blended together perfectly. It means unity, where different ingredients are combined to symbiotically produce a desired result.

 

Three a mystery when you mix something. If you mix flour and water you get glue. If you mix flour, water and egg, you get a cake. Where does the glue go?

 

When we mix a motley band of unique, sometimes strange, sometimes prickly people together, we get the Church, one of the most powerful forces on earth!

 

When we love and care for those who may seem to have less value in human eyes, we promote unity and the body of Christ grows healthy and strong.

 

In the body of Christ, God has made you unique, and has placed you in a place, a position where you can function not for your own benefit, but for the whole body. Look at how intricate your fingers are, your eyes can distinguish around 10 million colours. Your heart pumps more than 115,000 times a day. Being fit and healthy is about the whole body working together.

 

Of course, the entire medical industry of which I am a part is based on the fact that often times bodies do not work together properly. The parts of our body, just like the body of Christ, can suffer various types of disunity…

 

1.      EXTERNAL INFECTION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

Foreign organisms can invade and seek to control the human body. Bacteria can get past our body’s defences and infect us, causing toxins to flood our body, leading to sickness and even death. Paul said to the Ephesians elders…

 

Acts 20:29-30 (ESV Strong’s)

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

 

So the body of Christ can be infected by people of evil intentions, and ideas or doctrines that are not from the Lord. We need to be on guard constantly to stop these attacks, because they will make the body of Christ feeble, sick and useless.

 

Our greatest defence is the Word of God, so at Ignite, this is our standard. If teaching that is not Biblical arises, we must be diligent to stand against it!

 

2.      AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

 

Autoimmune diseases are those where the body attacks itself. Viruses often start this, because a virus injects it’s DNA into a cell, using the cell’s own contents to attack other cells.

 

Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV Strong’s)

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

Listen, when the body attacks itself it is destructive (AIDS for example). When we attack one another in church, when we place our desires above our love for each other, we are like an autoimmune disease, and the body of Christ suffers in the same way.

 

John 13:35 (ESV Strong’s)

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Not how well you argue, but how well you love. You can win an argument and lose the unity which makes the body strong, so we need to guard ourselves against personal opinion that eclipses love!

 

3.      ATROPHY

 

Atrophy occurs when a part of the body is not used, and it therefore decreases its ability to function and eventually dies. It might be obvious like a withered hand, or less obvious but more far reaching like atrophy in the optic nerve, or a part of the brain. Essentially atrophy means use it or lose it!

 

Atrophy is often called wasting, because unused parts of the body waste away. And some of you here might feel that you’ve been wasting away, perhaps for years. You might believe that you once had a ministry in the body, but that is has finished, it is over, dead and useless. You might have once been on fire for Jesus, but now you’re cold, uninspired, just going through the motions, not really feeling like a part of the body of Christ.

 

Joel 2:25 (ESV Strong’s)

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,

 

Locusts are destructive, they eat your life away and leave acres of barren wastefulness. Sin, pain, bitterness, anger, destruction of reputation, wandering away from the church, all of these can result in years of neglect and wastefulness. If that is you, God’s promise today is that He will restore those years. Restoration means as if the years of neglect never happened. I believe that God is speaking to some here today calling you to make the past past at last and let Jesus restore the life, the vision and the ministry you once had in the body of Christ.

 

At Ignite, this is a body of Christ that will allow you to restore the years the locusts have eaten!

 

4.      CIRCULATION AND NEUROPATHY

 

With our lives of fast food and stress, circulation and neurological problems abound. What happens here is that the blood and nervous impulses we need for our bodies to behave correctly don’t make it through. The arteries get clogged and blocked, or the wrong neural messages get sent through.

 

This too can happen even in the body of Christ. Miscommunication abounds even here at times, where people say and do things that are misunderstood by someone else who takes offence. Much of the job of a pastor is managing disputes, which more often than not are not intended but are based around failure to communicate effectively.  How can we stop this process?

 

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.

 

When we are part of the body of Christ, we must make sure that what we say is kind, uplifting and gracious, and if it is misunderstood we need to be quick to apologise, or if we feel aggrieved, quick to love and extend forgiveness.

 

5.      CANCER

 

Sometimes, for reasons often not clearly understood by medical science, body parts turn cancerous. Cancer is perhaps the most feared bodily disease, and treatment is harsh chemo and radio therapy.

 

I had been tracking a large pigmented mole on a guy’s retina for many years. One visit it had spread dramatically and started heading down his optic nerve towards his brain. Within a week the eyeball was removed and his life was saved from this aggressive, cancerous malignant melanoma. Cancer can be that nasty, incredibly destructive and difficult to cure.

 

But we have cancer in the body of Christ at times too. Cancer starts with a single cell, which then turns other cells cancerous as it grows and invades tissue. I’ve seen people get upset with pastors or leadership, and they then gather others to their cause, creating opposing factions and splitting the church in two, destroying everything the Lord was doing in that body of Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 3:3-4 (ESV Strong’s)

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

 

Factions and dissension in the body of Christ are cancer, bring disunity, pain and destruction, so we must be careful about forming cliques and power bases, and following men instead of God. Rivalry and dissension destroy our greatest asset as the body of Christ… unity!

 

ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE

 

For the human body, and for the body of Christ, unity is the key.  I know most of those diseases are not happening here at Ignite, and for the most part we are in wonderful unity. Different parts, different roles, different callings, opinions and hopes and dreams. Yet, we only function correctly when we stand together, and when we work together, side by side, arm in arm, hand in hand.

 

Let me say it again… if we love our ministry, our opinion, our reputation, our pet doctrine or anything else more than we love other people, we will lose our greatest asset as a church, as the body of Christ… Unity in the Spirit.

 

Psalms 133:1 (ESV Strong’s)

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

 

Look in the mirror and see yourself as a valuable part of a viable body of Christ. Unity does not mean we see eye to eye on everything, but we can walk hand in hand and arm in arm. We may not agree with each other, but we can disagree agreeably. Unity is at the and core of Ignite Church.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV Strong’s)

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

 

If you’re not part of the Body of Christ, pray this prayer.

 

If you believe that you are called to do something in this world for Christ, stand up. Tell God you’re ready and available to allow Him to lead and guide you.

 

Today I want to pray for those of you who feel or have felt disjointed, dislocated or unfulfilled in church. If you have in your heart the desire to serve the Lord, but you just feel like the part of the body that is not working properly. I want to pray for you and also explore with you where you fit and how we can make your ministry dreams come true. If you have a dream in your heart for any ministry listen and respond today.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/me-in-the-mirror-5-the-body-of-christ/

Me in the Mirror 5- The Body of Christ

Do you see yourself as part of the body of Christ?  We have been asking the question, “When you look in the mirror, what do you see?” You should see yourself as valuable, as precious to God, and we discovered that you should see yourself as royalty, a child of the King, and as an ambassador, His representative to this troubled and dying world.

Today I want to ask the question, do you see yourself as part of the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-20 (ESV Strong’s)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

 

EVERYONE WANTS A BEAUTIFUL BODY

 

Standing in front of a mirror and looking at your body may have been replaced to a large degree by the selfie, but we all look in the mirror sometime and examine our bodies.

 

These days, it seems like everyone wants a beautiful body. Sadly I stand before you as an example of a not so beautiful body. I have a t shirt that says, “Exercise… I thought you said extra fries!”  I like food a lot, I don’t like exercise, and so this is the inevitable result, especially when you add in age!  My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and apparently, it needed a front porch, so I am working on that!

 

Paul in this passage is looking at the human body as an illustration of Christ and His Church.

 

1 Corinthians 12:12 (ESV Strong’s)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

 

When we come to Jesus we are all baptised into this one body. We are all royalty, and we are all ambassadors, but as believers we are all also part of His body the church, baptised into His Spirit, and given His Spirit to drink it says in verse 12.    The Greek for drink is the word potizo, which means to give a drink to someone, but also means to irrigate or saturate.

 

When you come to Christ you are covered over with His Spirit, immersed, irrigated, saturated in His Spirit. You don’t dabble, you don’t stick your toe in, you dive in, and so your sin is covered over, and if you hand over control to the Lord every aspect of your life, it is surrounded by His loving Spirit.

 

So when you come to Christ, you become part of His family, but also an essential part of His beautiful body, the body of Christ. He gives every one of us gifts, unique and special gifts so that we can bless and build up the body.

 

SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

When we come to Jesus, we receive salvation, we are adopted into His royal family, and we also are given spiritual gifts, not to build ourselves up and promote our own desires, but to serve each other and build up the body of Christ. We explore this in 201, so you should all make sure you catch that next time.

 

1 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV Strong’s)

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

 

Let’s make this important point, your gifts and your behaviour are not to promote you or have you get your own way, they are to bless others. If you think you have a gift and it offends or upsets others, either you are wrong about the gift, or you are misusing it.

 

1 Corinthians 12 and 14 contain the great teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially tongues and prophecy. Those chapters were written as a rebuke to the Corinthians, because they were misusing the gifts to promote their own way of doing things. These gifts have frequently divided and even destroyed churches instead of building them up, because people have said, “Its my gift, I’m using it and if it offends you, tough luck!”

 

Let me tell you that this is not God, and it’s the body of Christ in action. This passage clearly teaches that the gifts are to build others up, and this attitude never builds others up. Why do you think Paul talked about spiritual gifts, but right in the middle wrote the great chapter of love, 1 Corinthians 13.

 

If you have a spiritual gift, position or opinion and you value that gift more than you value others, this is not love, and we will have disunity.

 

BODY PARTS… A CHURCH AUTOPSY

 

The Church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is the head. That means all of us are part of His body… the church.  Just as the various parts of your body are different, yet they are still part of your body, so the various parts of the body of Christ are different, but still connected.

 

This is why this concept of being a Christian but not going to Church is not Biblical… we were made to function together, and independent spirits pretty much never grow in their faith or ministries. If you chopped off a foot, or poked out an eye, in a very short time the flesh starts to die. It is not helpful to the rest of the body when detached, and if left long enough it will die. That’s why we need the church, and you and I need to be part of the body of Christ, even though the body seems imperfect at times!

 

Romans 12:4-5 (ESV Strong’s)

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

 

So what can we draw from this illustration to speak to us today?

 

1.      EVERY BODY PART IS NECESSARY

 

I was always told that the appendix has no purpose, and it gets inflamed and has to be removed. However we now know that the appendix protects good bacteria in the gut, plays a role in the immune system and helps clean out the gut. Every part of the body is necessary.

 

And the same applies to the body of Christ, the church. Each and every one of you brings something special and unique to the body of Christ. You may not think you have anything to offer, but God created you and you are His child and His Spirit lives in you. Remember…

 

Psalms 139:14 (ESV Strong’s)

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

You have something to contribute to the family of God here at Ignite. I praise God that we have the best team here! Leadership, worship, admin, food, serving, kids, car parking, I wouldn’t swap any of you!  Every part of the body wants to feel necessary, so if you long to serve the Lord somehow, do 201 and let us support your ministry. Every one of us is necessary!

 

 

2.      EVERY BODY PART HAS AN ESSENTIAL FUNCTION

 

We are all different, and frankly sometimes we do not appreciate the differences in each other.  A friend use to say, “Why is it that every body of Christ has to have an armpit?” We sometimes cannot see the value in what another person does, but God sees it!

 

1 Corinthians 12:15-17 (ESV Strong’s)

If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

 

As humans, we are so quick to judge others for what they do and don’t do, and we are also often quick to project our gifting onto them. If we have a spiritual gift of prayer, we think everyone should pray as much as we do. If evangelism, we think everyone should talk to everyone about Jesus.

 

1 Corinthians 12:21 (ESV Strong’s)

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

 

We need each other, yet as sinful mankind we often overlook the seemingly insignificant people, and we chase after the pastor, the worship leader and all those with flashy jobs. Listen, we are all significant, and we all bring an essential function to the table. If you come to Ignite we are richer, but if you leave Ignite, this church is poorer, because what you do matters!

 

Part of my leadership here at Ignite is that I lean on the gifts of my team. I do not make any decisions by myself, I lean on my team, acknowledging that they are different to me, but complimentary.

 

So we need to not envy each other, or value some more than others in the body of Christ, but recognise each of us has an essential function in this place, and my calling as pastor is to release you to be all you can be in God, without pressure or forcing a square peg into a round hole. We do 201 so that people can serve where they are gifted. If you’re not ready to serve here, then it’s ok, because I’m not going to force you to do anything, but if you want to make a difference in the world, we can help you.

 

 

3.      EVERY BODY PART IS ARRANGED AS GOD WILLS

 

1 Corinthians 12:18 (ESV Strong’s)

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

 

Most of you do not have a foot growing out of your head, or an ear sticking out of your stomach. God arranges our bodies in a way that serves His purpose and makes sense.

 

You are not here by accident. This church is not just a way to fill in Sunday morning and make you feel like you’ve fulfilled your duty and gone to Church. No, we are the body of Christ, and we love that you are here, and we believe that God has set you here for His purpose in your life!

 

The Greek word for arranged in this passage is tithemi, which is derived from a word meaning laying down in a passive posture. So the meaning of this Scripture is that God lays out where you should function in the body of Christ… you don’t tell Him where you want to be, He places you where He knows you will thrive and become a functioning part of His body.

 

Am I saying you need to stay where you’re put and can never move? No, because God has greatness for you, so always aspire to what He has for you. But it means that you can trust God for Him to move you into a God given, Holy Spirit inspired destiny that will blow your mind!

 

 

4.      EVERY BODY PART IS DIFFERENT, YET THEY ALL FIT TOGETHER

 

Sometimes in church we are envious of someone else, their talents or position, or sometimes we look down on others who don’t seem as important as we think we are. Some prefer quiet roles like praying or serving, while others prefer up front roles like preaching, singing or leadership. No one role in Ignite is better or worse, greater or lesser… we are in the same team, just in different positions.

 

In 1 Corinthians 3 it talks about the rewards at the judgement seat of Christ…

 

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (ESV Strong’s)

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

 

I suspect that some high flying preachers and Christian singers will be left with a whole pile of ash on that day, and some of you who have loved and cared for the unlovely, who have waited tables, who have served without recognition and prayed faithfully will see gold, silver and costly stones.

 

At Ignite, we need to value each other, care for each other and love each other as members of the body of Christ. When someone wins, we all win. I’ve been watching the World Cup, and when the striker scores a winning goal, the goalie does not walk around saying, “I wanted to score that!” No, they all rejoice because when one wins, they all win!

 

THE VALUE OF A PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

Paul’s argument in our key text is that we all have a role to play, great or small, spectacular or quiet, and that it takes all of us to make up a healthy body of Christ. Every part has value… every part!

 

1 Corinthians 12:22-24 (ESV Strong’s)

On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,

 

The Lord sees those little things you do, the phone call to someone who has missed church, the cars you help park, the plate you clean, the weeding you do. As a pastor, I get the up front job, but this passage tells me that much of what you do is as important as what I do, and should be treated with special honour.

 

Unpresentable parts are given greater consideration in the body than presentable parts. We cover the reproductive bits and treat them with special modesty, and so the church should treat those who might be a little bit different with special honour. I recently attended Joel’s birthday party, and there were a whole range of very different people with intellectual disabilities.  We all had a blast together, it was great fun and I was honoured to share Joel’s special day with these unusual people.

 

Someone once said, “I value everyone because every person can teach me something I don’t know.”

 

THE VALUE OF THE WHOLE BODY

 

The body never exists on its own, but is a complex, interwoven being. The body only works effectively when all the parts are joined together, working together properly.

 

1 Corinthians 12:24-25 (ESV Strong’s)

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

 

The Greek for composed means tempered together, mixed, combined, blended together perfectly. It means unity, where different ingredients are combined to symbiotically produce a desired result.

 

Three a mystery when you mix something. If you mix flour and water you get glue. If you mix flour, water and egg, you get a cake. Where does the glue go?

 

When we mix a motley band of unique, sometimes strange, sometimes prickly people together, we get the Church, one of the most powerful forces on earth!

 

When we love and care for those who may seem to have less value in human eyes, we promote unity and the body of Christ grows healthy and strong.

 

In the body of Christ, God has made you unique, and has placed you in a place, a position where you can function not for your own benefit, but for the whole body. Look at how intricate your fingers are, your eyes can distinguish around 10 million colours. Your heart pumps more than 115,000 times a day. Being fit and healthy is about the whole body working together.

 

Of course, the entire medical industry of which I am a part is based on the fact that often times bodies do not work together properly. The parts of our body, just like the body of Christ, can suffer various types of disunity…

 

1.      EXTERNAL INFECTION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

Foreign organisms can invade and seek to control the human body. Bacteria can get past our body’s defences and infect us, causing toxins to flood our body, leading to sickness and even death. Paul said to the Ephesians elders…

 

Acts 20:29-30 (ESV Strong’s)

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

 

So the body of Christ can be infected by people of evil intentions, and ideas or doctrines that are not from the Lord. We need to be on guard constantly to stop these attacks, because they will make the body of Christ feeble, sick and useless.

 

Our greatest defence is the Word of God, so at Ignite, this is our standard. If teaching that is not Biblical arises, we must be diligent to stand against it!

 

2.      AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

 

Autoimmune diseases are those where the body attacks itself. Viruses often start this, because a virus injects it’s DNA into a cell, using the cell’s own contents to attack other cells.

 

Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV Strong’s)

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

Listen, when the body attacks itself it is destructive (AIDS for example). When we attack one another in church, when we place our desires above our love for each other, we are like an autoimmune disease, and the body of Christ suffers in the same way.

 

John 13:35 (ESV Strong’s)

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Not how well you argue, but how well you love. You can win an argument and lose the unity which makes the body strong, so we need to guard ourselves against personal opinion that eclipses love!

 

3.      ATROPHY

 

Atrophy occurs when a part of the body is not used, and it therefore decreases its ability to function and eventually dies. It might be obvious like a withered hand, or less obvious but more far reaching like atrophy in the optic nerve, or a part of the brain. Essentially atrophy means use it or lose it!

 

Atrophy is often called wasting, because unused parts of the body waste away. And some of you here might feel that you’ve been wasting away, perhaps for years. You might believe that you once had a ministry in the body, but that is has finished, it is over, dead and useless. You might have once been on fire for Jesus, but now you’re cold, uninspired, just going through the motions, not really feeling like a part of the body of Christ.

 

Joel 2:25 (ESV Strong’s)

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,

 

Locusts are destructive, they eat your life away and leave acres of barren wastefulness. Sin, pain, bitterness, anger, destruction of reputation, wandering away from the church, all of these can result in years of neglect and wastefulness. If that is you, God’s promise today is that He will restore those years. Restoration means as if the years of neglect never happened. I believe that God is speaking to some here today calling you to make the past past at last and let Jesus restore the life, the vision and the ministry you once had in the body of Christ.

 

At Ignite, this is a body of Christ that will allow you to restore the years the locusts have eaten!

 

4.      CIRCULATION AND NEUROPATHY

 

With our lives of fast food and stress, circulation and neurological problems abound. What happens here is that the blood and nervous impulses we need for our bodies to behave correctly don’t make it through. The arteries get clogged and blocked, or the wrong neural messages get sent through.

 

This too can happen even in the body of Christ. Miscommunication abounds even here at times, where people say and do things that are misunderstood by someone else who takes offence. Much of the job of a pastor is managing disputes, which more often than not are not intended but are based around failure to communicate effectively.  How can we stop this process?

 

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.

 

When we are part of the body of Christ, we must make sure that what we say is kind, uplifting and gracious, and if it is misunderstood we need to be quick to apologise, or if we feel aggrieved, quick to love and extend forgiveness.

 

5.      CANCER

 

Sometimes, for reasons often not clearly understood by medical science, body parts turn cancerous. Cancer is perhaps the most feared bodily disease, and treatment is harsh chemo and radio therapy.

 

I had been tracking a large pigmented mole on a guy’s retina for many years. One visit it had spread dramatically and started heading down his optic nerve towards his brain. Within a week the eyeball was removed and his life was saved from this aggressive, cancerous malignant melanoma. Cancer can be that nasty, incredibly destructive and difficult to cure.

 

But we have cancer in the body of Christ at times too. Cancer starts with a single cell, which then turns other cells cancerous as it grows and invades tissue. I’ve seen people get upset with pastors or leadership, and they then gather others to their cause, creating opposing factions and splitting the church in two, destroying everything the Lord was doing in that body of Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 3:3-4 (ESV Strong’s)

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

 

Factions and dissension in the body of Christ are cancer, bring disunity, pain and destruction, so we must be careful about forming cliques and power bases, and following men instead of God. Rivalry and dissension destroy our greatest asset as the body of Christ… unity!

 

ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE

 

For the human body, and for the body of Christ, unity is the key.  I know most of those diseases are not happening here at Ignite, and for the most part we are in wonderful unity. Different parts, different roles, different callings, opinions and hopes and dreams. Yet, we only function correctly when we stand together, and when we work together, side by side, arm in arm, hand in hand.

 

Let me say it again… if we love our ministry, our opinion, our reputation, our pet doctrine or anything else more than we love other people, we will lose our greatest asset as a church, as the body of Christ… Unity in the Spirit.

 

Psalms 133:1 (ESV Strong’s)

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

 

Look in the mirror and see yourself as a valuable part of a viable body of Christ. Unity does not mean we see eye to eye on everything, but we can walk hand in hand and arm in arm. We may not agree with each other, but we can disagree agreeably. Unity is at the and core of Ignite Church.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV Strong’s)

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

 

If you’re not part of the Body of Christ, pray this prayer.

 

If you believe that you are called to do something in this world for Christ, stand up. Tell God you’re ready and available to allow Him to lead and guide you.

 

Today I want to pray for those of you who feel or have felt disjointed, dislocated or unfulfilled in church. If you have in your heart the desire to serve the Lord, but you just feel like the part of the body that is not working properly. I want to pray for you and also explore with you where you fit and how we can make your ministry dreams come true. If you have a dream in your heart for any ministry listen and respond today.

https://ignitechurch.org.au/me-in-the-mirror-5-the-body-of-christ/

321- Stage Presentation for Worship

Stage presentation is something often overlooked in worship leading, but it can have a powerful effect for either good or bad when it comes to how your ministry is received. (Photo Pixabay)

Personal and Stage Presentation Matters

What you wear, where you stand, how you stand, how you hold the microphone and a number of other factors can dramatically affect your worship leading, and this is what we are going to explore in this week’s podcast.

Let’s face it when you lead people in worship you need to consider the whole package.  People usually worship with their eyes open, so they are looking at you, taking in the entire scene.  And trust me, your congregation will notice everything!  So we talk about what you are wearing, how you are holding the microphones, where the band members are placed and a ton of other stage presentation issues.

Everything we share on stage presentation in this special pod includes practical and easy ways that you can change and improve any deficiencies, so if you want your team to not only sound amazing and lead incredible worship, but also look sensational, then this podcast is not to be missed!

Even the little things, the ones you may have never even considered, are dealt with in this podcast.  We also share how you can change how the entire band presents itself, not as stone statues on stage singing and playing, but as real people relaxed and enjoying the worship, and interacting with each other in a way that presents as natural, stylish and cool!

We even make a stand against the current trend of blackening out everything, suggesting we can have colour and vibrancy in our churches instead of drab black! So, we may slay a few holy cows in this podcast, but I believe that in the end what the team suggests will be a great blessing to you, and definitely not that expensive to implement (we are basically cheapskates at heart!).

Learn more about stage presentation, the look, the feel, the positioning and the attire… it’s all here in this week’s worship leader podcast…

https://praiseandworshipleader.com/worship-leader-podcast/321-stage-presentation-for-worship/

Me in the Mirror 4- Be an Ambassador

Do you see yourself as an ambassador for Christ?

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (ESV Strong’s)

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Last week we looked in the mirror and saw ourselves as royalty, and made a commitment to act like royalty. Today, I want to continue our series of what you see when you look in the mirror, only this time I am not focussing on who you are, but what your mission is on earth. You are not only royalty, you are an ambassador…

So what is an ambassador? Dictionary defines it as “an accredited diplomat sent by a state as its permanent representative in a foreign country.”

 

WHAT DOES AN AMBASSADOR LOOK LIKE?

 

2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV Strong’s)

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

 

Notice the tone here, we are God’s representatives, and so we don’t just mention Him, we don’t only bring Him up in polite conversation or suggest people might like to check out God, we implore others to be reconciled to God.

 

The Greek word for implore is deomai, which means to beg, petition, beseech and pray for. It is derives from the root verb deo, which literally means to bind, tie or fasten with chains. So when Paul says we implore you, it means we bind ourselves to you or commit ourselves to you until you are reconciled to Christ.

 

What this tells me is that, as ambassadors, we must not be halfhearted, we must never be semi committed , but rather we need to be fully and completely invested in bringing people to Jesus. In fact, we need to be desperate to see people come to Christ!

 

Spurgeon once said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved, then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that…”

 

Ok, we are children of the King of Kings, but are we really serious about bringing others to Jesus? I am not talking about throwing your brain away and Bible bashing people into submission. Ambassadors represent the King, but they don’t bash anyone! Like royalty, their behaviour needs to be above reproach.  As that passage says, God is making His appeal to human hearts through us.

 

In fact, we are often the only Bible people will read!

 

So here are some characteristics of ambassadors, which is part of our calling as royal children…

 

1.      AN AMBASSADOR LIVES IN A FOREIGN LAND

 

This world is not our home, we are just passing through. This world in which we live is beautiful, but it is not our home. We are aliens and strangers in this world, we are only visiting this planet, because our home is with the Lord in Heaven. We live in a dying world that needs a living Saviour!

 

C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

 

This is not our home, but to get the mission done for the King, we have to live in this foreign, often hostile land that we call earth. And this earth is dying. According to the Gospel Coalition, 151,600 people die every day, that’s 105 deaths every minute, and most of them face a Christ-less eternity. In fact, most of them have never really heard the gospel!

 

Yet Jesus commands us,

 

Matthew 28:19 (ESV Strong’s)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

 

Frankly, as Christians we do not really take this charge seriously. Most Christians are content to sit in their churches arguing doctrine and squabble over the colour of the carpet instead of reaching out to this sick, dying, needy world! Jesus commanded us the make disciples of all nations, but we are too afraid to tell our friends that we even believe in God!

 

2 Corinthians 5 clearly challenges us to reach out to others, and I believe that, if we see ourselves as royalty and representatives of the King of Kings, it is our solemn duty and awesome privilege to share our faith. This generation of believers is responsible for this generation of souls all over the earth.

 

That’s you and me folks! It’s not the pastor’s job, it’s not Bill Newman’s job or missionaries or evangelists. This is the solemn duty of every believer. We may not all be preachers, but we can all be reachers!

 

And remember, while might live in a foreign, hostile and dying land, we represent a great King and are part of the greatest family ever..

 

Ephesians 2:19 (ESV Strong’s)

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

 

 

2.      AN AMBASSADOR SPEAKS FOR THEIR OWN COUNTRY

 

Ambassadors are constantly watched by others because they speak not for themselves but for their country. Sometimes the ambassador is persecuted because he speaks out the will of the home leader. The Bible says of us…

 

Philippians 3:20 (ESV Strong’s)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

 

But ambassadors are not concerned about making popular statements, but in speaking for the King.

 

When US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem, Reuters reported, “for security reasons U.S. Ambassador David Friedman will continue living in the residence in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, and commute to the relocated embassy.” His life is under threat because he speaks for his government.

 

So should we. If you make a comment on Facebook pro God, they attack you. If you go to the media standing for what is right, they try to destroy you. Christians and even Christian leaders are running scared in our so called Christian nation. Media and social media now attack Christians far more than gays, transgenders, Muslims, sex workers or any other alleged suppressed minority.

 

We’re now the target, folks, not them. Get use to it, because it ain’t about to change.

 

But still we must speak the mind of the King. We must also love with the heart of the King. Our King once said this…

John 15:19 (ESV Strong’s)

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

 

I believe that now more than ever before we have the privilege of standing up for Jesus, speaking out for Him in a hostile and antagonistic world. I’m not scared going forward, I’m inspired to make a stand for what is right. I’m inspired to speak the mind of my King, come what may, and I will not stop no matter what they throw at me!

 

 

3.      AN AMBASSADOR IS SEEN TO REPRESENT THEIR COUNTRY

 

A country is judged by its people. When I go to India next month, I represent my country. The Indians I meet will judge Australia by me, and if they like me they like Australia, but if they don’t like me, they hate Australia. You do the same. If you have a friend from a country, invariably you have a high opinion of that country. I love Carlos, which means I even like Peru despite them beating us in the World Cup.

 

Jesus says He chose us to represent Him and bear fruit that lasts, fruit that also represents the King.

 

John 15:16 (ESV Strong’s)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

 

People are looking at us, and for many, we are the only representations they see of God. When I hear of a Christian leader falling in sin, I’m not only sad for those involved, I’m disgusted because it misrepresents the God that I serve! We need to not bring God into disrepute !  We need to watch what we say and do, because we are representing the King we serve as His ambassadors, and they judge Him by us!

 

Now I know I’m not perfect, and I know it is not fashionable to preach holiness these days, but we need to be holy and behave in a godly way, because people are watching. We need to accurately and honourably represent our King, as His children and ambassadors!

 

People say to me, “Pastor, I can’t help behaving badly, it’s just who I am… I’m just being myself.” You can be yourself, just be your best self! “But I can’t control my temper, my tongue, my lust, my gossip, insert your favourite sin here!” Listen, if you are screaming and yelling at your spouse, and the pastor knocks on your door, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can control yourself!

 

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV Strong’s)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

Unbelievers, especially those closest to you, are watching, the question is, are you shining? Someone once said, “I came to Christ not because of the cleverness of your speech, but because of the godliness of your life.”

 

1 Peter 2:12 (ESV Strong’s)

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

 

 

4.      AN AMBASSADOR MUST LEARN THE LANGUAGE AND CUSTOMS

 

If we are to communicate the King’s message to this world, we have to do so in a language they understand. This doesn’t mean we become citizens of that country, nor does it mean we behave according to their customs and standards, but we have to be able to communicate.

 

President Kennedy made a famous speech in front of the Berlin Wall in 1961 where he said, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” which actually translates “I am a cream Bun.”

 

Even the great Billy Graham once told a job at a huge rally in India. The translator took a long time to translate it, but people eventually politely chuckled. Billy asked him afterwards what had happened, and the man told Billy that he translated in this way… “Dr Graham has told a joke that in his culture is funny, but in our culture is not. But out or respect to Dr Graham, would you please now laugh!”

 

Communication is important.  Jesus prays for believers in His high-priestly prayer…

 

John 17:15-18 (ESV Strong’s)

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

 

We are to be in the world, but not of it. We are to relate to it without partaking of it. Some of us get this wrong, and we become of it, and this is not holiness and it destroys the validity of our testimony for the King. You don’t have to take drugs to reach a drug addict. You don’t have to get drunk to be one of the boys to win them to Christ. You don’t have to be corrupt to reach politicians, or a tax cheat to reach businessmen.

 

What you and I have to be is holy. We need to live a life free of sin, because nothing will make people sit up and take notice like a godly life. The very people who have attacked and insulted me for being a Christian have often  ultimately turned to me when they have a need.

 

So as ambassadors we are called to live in this needy world, living godly lives that unbelievers can understand and relate to, without lowering our standards. We shouldn’t hide ourselves in monasteries or churches. We need to be in the community, talking to people, loving people on behalf of the King, but not stooping to their level and participating in their sin. In the world, but not of the world.

 

Whatever the culture, every person on earth understands genuine love and care, honour and respect. I was once approached by a gay friend who demanded, “Do you agree with my lifestyle?” I said I did not, and will never agree with his lifestyle, but then I told him he probably doesn’t agree with mine either. So if we can agree to disagree, can’t we just be mates and love and honour each other as people. He said that was the best answer he had ever heard. I cannot win him to Christ if I treat him like a lepper! If I love him, he respects that I love him and I can still reach him.

 

Sometimes, “What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.”

 

 

5.      AN AMBASSADOR DOES NOT GET INVOLVED IN TRIVIAL LOCAL ISSUES

Ambassadors are about representing their leader, their King. Their concern is at a national level, and you should not find them arguing or getting involved in local matters.

 

1 Peter 2:11 (ESV Strong’s)

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

 

There are some things we must abstain from. Listen there are some arguments on Facebook you need to not become embroiled in! I’m always uncomfortable when I see Christians aggressively arguing trivial points, because you can win the argument and lose the war. Apologetics is good and necessary at times, but no one gets argued into the Kingdom. It always is going to take faith!

 

Titus 3:9 (ESV Strong’s)

But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

 

Usually people who want to argue with you about social issues or opinions are not ready to accept Jesus as Lord. So avoid foolish arguments and concentrate on loving people. Sure, some things you need to make a stand on, but you can even do that in a non argumentative way. Jesus said that unbelievers will know us by how we love one another, not by how vigorously we argue about evrything!

 

6.      AN AMBASSADOR KNOWS THE MIND OF THE KING

 

1 Corinthians 2:16 (ESV Strong’s)

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

 

When we are ambassadors, we know the mind and will of our King and we serve the King, not the local population and not our own interests.

 

 

Matthew 6:24 (ESV Strong’s)

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

 

So many Christians are so wrapped up in money and lifestyle they forget God. You can work, use money and enjoy the blessing, but it ought to serve you, not the other way around. Serve Jesus number one, and let Him sort out money and lifestyle.

 

7.      AN AMBASSADOR IS IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH THE KING

 

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

 

How do you get to know the King? Talk to Him. Learn about His ways. You read His communications, you study His Word and you connect with others who know and live the King. An ambassador needs to stay connected. He does not operate in isolation, he does not make his own decisions, he is in constant contact with his government so that any decisions he makes reflects his government’s wishes.

 

John 10:27 (ESV Strong’s)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

 

You can not accurately hear the voice of the King unless you know Him, and you cannot know Him without reading His Word. It is that simple…

 

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV Strong’s)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

Reading the Word of God daily is essential, hence the Bible reading plan. Coming to church is also essential, because worshipping together, growing together and learning together is part of your ambassador training. People tell me you can still be a Christian and not go to church, and that is true. You can be married and not live together, but that’s not the norm, right?

 

Finding the right Church will enhance every aspect of your Christian walk! So even if you find us imperfect, and I’m sure you will, don’t stop coming to Ignite, because our desire is to Ignite your Christian life!

 

Communicating with the King is more than just reading the Bible and attending church, it is all about learning to listen to His voice. Next month Fiona is starting a special course on hearing the voice of God, and you can reliably and consistently hear the still small voice of God if you learn how and if your heart is open.

 

Isaiah 30:21 (ESV Strong’s)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

 

8.      AN AMBASSADOR IS READY TO BE RECALLED AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE

 

The final and exciting point about seeing yourself as an ambassador is that you have to be ready to be recalled at a moment’s notice.

 

When war is declared between countries Diplomats are generally recalled, and they are are frequently recalled as a protest, as we have seen recently in the diplomatic row involving alleged Russian spying. Last year, all Australian ambassadors were recalled by Julia Bishop to reformulate Australia’s overall foreign policy.

 

Ambassadors need to be ready for a recall, any time, anywhere! So should we be!

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (ESV Strong’s)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

 

Jesus is coming again, just as He has promised, and He has never broken a promise! When Israel was formed as a nation after thousands of years of exile in 1948, the world was put on notice that Jesus’ return is not far away.

 

Any time now Jesus will be returning to earth, and the Bible says we will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Right now we are ambassadors for the King, but the King is coming again! I can’t tell you when, but I can tell you who! Jesus, the King of Kings will come back and claim His ambassadors, His royal children as His own .  So if the King is coming, we need to get ready for the King, and start shining for Him!

 

BE AN AMBASSADOR AND SHINE!

 

Last week we were anointed as children of the King, and this week I am asking you to look in the mirror to see yourself as an ambassador.

 

If we truly see ourselves as that, this will govern our behaviour towards the world in which we live.

 

Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong’s)

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

 

We often consider witnessing to be a formalised process, maybe door knocking or handing out tracts. But being a witness for the King is about being His ambassador. It is about shining for Him!

 

People generally don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Being an ambassador doesn’t mean you Bible bash people, it means you represent the King, you shine His light to everyone you meet.

 

Like I said before, people are watching you so don’t just say, pray! Don’t just whine, shine! Don’t just speak, seek! Being an ambassador is something we are all called be, so rather than trying to argue with people or force them to listen to your gospel presentation, just live a life that shines for the King!

 

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV Strong’s)

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

 

Sometimes our witnessing is not gentle, neither is it respectful. Sometimes we force ourselves and our ideas on those not willing to listen. However, if you live an exemplary life before the, if you live a life of love and acceptance, then they are far more willing to listen when the time comes.

 

So to finish, I want to challenge you to shine your faith to everyone you meet. Look for opportunities to share the gospel, but let those openings be based on the testimony of a godly life shining before them.

 

Today, I want to ask you to write down 3 people you think you can be the Lord’s ambassador to. Three people that you can shine your light before, then be ready to give the reason for your life being such a light in this dark world. They could be friends, family, loved one, neighbours, business associates, workmates, doesn’t matter.

 

And then we are going to pray that these people see the life you live, and praise your father in heaven. I’m going to be so bold as to ask the Lord for the opportunity to share your faith honestly and openly with at least one of these people over the next month!

 

Just ask God for one opportunity to shine the goodness of God into their lives, and then be bold enough to tell them why you are shining for Jesus. Ask God for the opportunity, then trust Him for the results. Whether they accept Christ is His problem, not yours, your responsibility is to shine, and to be ready to give a reason for the hope within you.

 

https://ignitechurch.org.au/me-in-the-mirror-4-be-an-ambassador/

Me in the Mirror 4- Be an Ambassador

Do you see yourself as an ambassador for Christ?

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (ESV Strong’s)

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Last week we looked in the mirror and saw ourselves as royalty, and made a commitment to act like royalty. Today, I want to continue our series of what you see when you look in the mirror, only this time I am not focussing on who you are, but what your mission is on earth. You are not only royalty, you are an ambassador…

So what is an ambassador? Dictionary defines it as “an accredited diplomat sent by a state as its permanent representative in a foreign country.”

 

WHAT DOES AN AMBASSADOR LOOK LIKE?

 

2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV Strong’s)

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

 

Notice the tone here, we are God’s representatives, and so we don’t just mention Him, we don’t only bring Him up in polite conversation or suggest people might like to check out God, we implore others to be reconciled to God.

 

The Greek word for implore is deomai, which means to beg, petition, beseech and pray for. It is derives from the root verb deo, which literally means to bind, tie or fasten with chains. So when Paul says we implore you, it means we bind ourselves to you or commit ourselves to you until you are reconciled to Christ.

 

What this tells me is that, as ambassadors, we must not be halfhearted, we must never be semi committed , but rather we need to be fully and completely invested in bringing people to Jesus. In fact, we need to be desperate to see people come to Christ!

 

Spurgeon once said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved, then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that…”

 

Ok, we are children of the King of Kings, but are we really serious about bringing others to Jesus? I am not talking about throwing your brain away and Bible bashing people into submission. Ambassadors represent the King, but they don’t bash anyone! Like royalty, their behaviour needs to be above reproach.  As that passage says, God is making His appeal to human hearts through us.

 

In fact, we are often the only Bible people will read!

 

So here are some characteristics of ambassadors, which is part of our calling as royal children…

 

1.      AN AMBASSADOR LIVES IN A FOREIGN LAND

 

This world is not our home, we are just passing through. This world in which we live is beautiful, but it is not our home. We are aliens and strangers in this world, we are only visiting this planet, because our home is with the Lord in Heaven. We live in a dying world that needs a living Saviour!

 

C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

 

This is not our home, but to get the mission done for the King, we have to live in this foreign, often hostile land that we call earth. And this earth is dying. According to the Gospel Coalition, 151,600 people die every day, that’s 105 deaths every minute, and most of them face a Christ-less eternity. In fact, most of them have never really heard the gospel!

 

Yet Jesus commands us,

 

Matthew 28:19 (ESV Strong’s)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

 

Frankly, as Christians we do not really take this charge seriously. Most Christians are content to sit in their churches arguing doctrine and squabble over the colour of the carpet instead of reaching out to this sick, dying, needy world! Jesus commanded us the make disciples of all nations, but we are too afraid to tell our friends that we even believe in God!

 

2 Corinthians 5 clearly challenges us to reach out to others, and I believe that, if we see ourselves as royalty and representatives of the King of Kings, it is our solemn duty and awesome privilege to share our faith. This generation of believers is responsible for this generation of souls all over the earth.

 

That’s you and me folks! It’s not the pastor’s job, it’s not Bill Newman’s job or missionaries or evangelists. This is the solemn duty of every believer. We may not all be preachers, but we can all be reachers!

 

And remember, while might live in a foreign, hostile and dying land, we represent a great King and are part of the greatest family ever..

 

Ephesians 2:19 (ESV Strong’s)

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

 

 

2.      AN AMBASSADOR SPEAKS FOR THEIR OWN COUNTRY

 

Ambassadors are constantly watched by others because they speak not for themselves but for their country. Sometimes the ambassador is persecuted because he speaks out the will of the home leader. The Bible says of us…

 

Philippians 3:20 (ESV Strong’s)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

 

But ambassadors are not concerned about making popular statements, but in speaking for the King.

 

When US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem, Reuters reported, “for security reasons U.S. Ambassador David Friedman will continue living in the residence in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, and commute to the relocated embassy.” His life is under threat because he speaks for his government.

 

So should we. If you make a comment on Facebook pro God, they attack you. If you go to the media standing for what is right, they try to destroy you. Christians and even Christian leaders are running scared in our so called Christian nation. Media and social media now attack Christians far more than gays, transgenders, Muslims, sex workers or any other alleged suppressed minority.

 

We’re now the target, folks, not them. Get use to it, because it ain’t about to change.

 

But still we must speak the mind of the King. We must also love with the heart of the King. Our King once said this…

John 15:19 (ESV Strong’s)

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

 

I believe that now more than ever before we have the privilege of standing up for Jesus, speaking out for Him in a hostile and antagonistic world. I’m not scared going forward, I’m inspired to make a stand for what is right. I’m inspired to speak the mind of my King, come what may, and I will not stop no matter what they throw at me!

 

 

3.      AN AMBASSADOR IS SEEN TO REPRESENT THEIR COUNTRY

 

A country is judged by its people. When I go to India next month, I represent my country. The Indians I meet will judge Australia by me, and if they like me they like Australia, but if they don’t like me, they hate Australia. You do the same. If you have a friend from a country, invariably you have a high opinion of that country. I love Carlos, which means I even like Peru despite them beating us in the World Cup.

 

Jesus says He chose us to represent Him and bear fruit that lasts, fruit that also represents the King.

 

John 15:16 (ESV Strong’s)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

 

People are looking at us, and for many, we are the only representations they see of God. When I hear of a Christian leader falling in sin, I’m not only sad for those involved, I’m disgusted because it misrepresents the God that I serve! We need to not bring God into disrepute !  We need to watch what we say and do, because we are representing the King we serve as His ambassadors, and they judge Him by us!

 

Now I know I’m not perfect, and I know it is not fashionable to preach holiness these days, but we need to be holy and behave in a godly way, because people are watching. We need to accurately and honourably represent our King, as His children and ambassadors!

 

People say to me, “Pastor, I can’t help behaving badly, it’s just who I am… I’m just being myself.” You can be yourself, just be your best self! “But I can’t control my temper, my tongue, my lust, my gossip, insert your favourite sin here!” Listen, if you are screaming and yelling at your spouse, and the pastor knocks on your door, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can control yourself!

 

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV Strong’s)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

Unbelievers, especially those closest to you, are watching, the question is, are you shining? Someone once said, “I came to Christ not because of the cleverness of your speech, but because of the godliness of your life.”

 

1 Peter 2:12 (ESV Strong’s)

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

 

 

4.      AN AMBASSADOR MUST LEARN THE LANGUAGE AND CUSTOMS

 

If we are to communicate the King’s message to this world, we have to do so in a language they understand. This doesn’t mean we become citizens of that country, nor does it mean we behave according to their customs and standards, but we have to be able to communicate.

 

President Kennedy made a famous speech in front of the Berlin Wall in 1961 where he said, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” which actually translates “I am a cream Bun.”

 

Even the great Billy Graham once told a job at a huge rally in India. The translator took a long time to translate it, but people eventually politely chuckled. Billy asked him afterwards what had happened, and the man told Billy that he translated in this way… “Dr Graham has told a joke that in his culture is funny, but in our culture is not. But out or respect to Dr Graham, would you please now laugh!”

 

Communication is important.  Jesus prays for believers in His high-priestly prayer…

 

John 17:15-18 (ESV Strong’s)

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

 

We are to be in the world, but not of it. We are to relate to it without partaking of it. Some of us get this wrong, and we become of it, and this is not holiness and it destroys the validity of our testimony for the King. You don’t have to take drugs to reach a drug addict. You don’t have to get drunk to be one of the boys to win them to Christ. You don’t have to be corrupt to reach politicians, or a tax cheat to reach businessmen.

 

What you and I have to be is holy. We need to live a life free of sin, because nothing will make people sit up and take notice like a godly life. The very people who have attacked and insulted me for being a Christian have often  ultimately turned to me when they have a need.

 

So as ambassadors we are called to live in this needy world, living godly lives that unbelievers can understand and relate to, without lowering our standards. We shouldn’t hide ourselves in monasteries or churches. We need to be in the community, talking to people, loving people on behalf of the King, but not stooping to their level and participating in their sin. In the world, but not of the world.

 

Whatever the culture, every person on earth understands genuine love and care, honour and respect. I was once approached by a gay friend who demanded, “Do you agree with my lifestyle?” I said I did not, and will never agree with his lifestyle, but then I told him he probably doesn’t agree with mine either. So if we can agree to disagree, can’t we just be mates and love and honour each other as people. He said that was the best answer he had ever heard. I cannot win him to Christ if I treat him like a lepper! If I love him, he respects that I love him and I can still reach him.

 

Sometimes, “What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.”

 

 

5.      AN AMBASSADOR DOES NOT GET INVOLVED IN TRIVIAL LOCAL ISSUES

Ambassadors are about representing their leader, their King. Their concern is at a national level, and you should not find them arguing or getting involved in local matters.

 

1 Peter 2:11 (ESV Strong’s)

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

 

There are some things we must abstain from. Listen there are some arguments on Facebook you need to not become embroiled in! I’m always uncomfortable when I see Christians aggressively arguing trivial points, because you can win the argument and lose the war. Apologetics is good and necessary at times, but no one gets argued into the Kingdom. It always is going to take faith!

 

Titus 3:9 (ESV Strong’s)

But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

 

Usually people who want to argue with you about social issues or opinions are not ready to accept Jesus as Lord. So avoid foolish arguments and concentrate on loving people. Sure, some things you need to make a stand on, but you can even do that in a non argumentative way. Jesus said that unbelievers will know us by how we love one another, not by how vigorously we argue about evrything!

 

6.      AN AMBASSADOR KNOWS THE MIND OF THE KING

 

1 Corinthians 2:16 (ESV Strong’s)

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

 

When we are ambassadors, we know the mind and will of our King and we serve the King, not the local population and not our own interests.

 

 

Matthew 6:24 (ESV Strong’s)

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

 

So many Christians are so wrapped up in money and lifestyle they forget God. You can work, use money and enjoy the blessing, but it ought to serve you, not the other way around. Serve Jesus number one, and let Him sort out money and lifestyle.

 

7.      AN AMBASSADOR IS IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH THE KING

 

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

 

How do you get to know the King? Talk to Him. Learn about His ways. You read His communications, you study His Word and you connect with others who know and live the King. An ambassador needs to stay connected. He does not operate in isolation, he does not make his own decisions, he is in constant contact with his government so that any decisions he makes reflects his government’s wishes.

 

John 10:27 (ESV Strong’s)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

 

You can not accurately hear the voice of the King unless you know Him, and you cannot know Him without reading His Word. It is that simple…

 

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV Strong’s)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

Reading the Word of God daily is essential, hence the Bible reading plan. Coming to church is also essential, because worshipping together, growing together and learning together is part of your ambassador training. People tell me you can still be a Christian and not go to church, and that is true. You can be married and not live together, but that’s not the norm, right?

 

Finding the right Church will enhance every aspect of your Christian walk! So even if you find us imperfect, and I’m sure you will, don’t stop coming to Ignite, because our desire is to Ignite your Christian life!

 

Communicating with the King is more than just reading the Bible and attending church, it is all about learning to listen to His voice. Next month Fiona is starting a special course on hearing the voice of God, and you can reliably and consistently hear the still small voice of God if you learn how and if your heart is open.

 

Isaiah 30:21 (ESV Strong’s)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

 

8.      AN AMBASSADOR IS READY TO BE RECALLED AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE

 

The final and exciting point about seeing yourself as an ambassador is that you have to be ready to be recalled at a moment’s notice.

 

When war is declared between countries Diplomats are generally recalled, and they are are frequently recalled as a protest, as we have seen recently in the diplomatic row involving alleged Russian spying. Last year, all Australian ambassadors were recalled by Julia Bishop to reformulate Australia’s overall foreign policy.

 

Ambassadors need to be ready for a recall, any time, anywhere! So should we be!

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (ESV Strong’s)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

 

Jesus is coming again, just as He has promised, and He has never broken a promise! When Israel was formed as a nation after thousands of years of exile in 1948, the world was put on notice that Jesus’ return is not far away.

 

Any time now Jesus will be returning to earth, and the Bible says we will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Right now we are ambassadors for the King, but the King is coming again! I can’t tell you when, but I can tell you who! Jesus, the King of Kings will come back and claim His ambassadors, His royal children as His own .  So if the King is coming, we need to get ready for the King, and start shining for Him!

 

BE AN AMBASSADOR AND SHINE!

 

Last week we were anointed as children of the King, and this week I am asking you to look in the mirror to see yourself as an ambassador.

 

If we truly see ourselves as that, this will govern our behaviour towards the world in which we live.

 

Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong’s)

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

 

We often consider witnessing to be a formalised process, maybe door knocking or handing out tracts. But being a witness for the King is about being His ambassador. It is about shining for Him!

 

People generally don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Being an ambassador doesn’t mean you Bible bash people, it means you represent the King, you shine His light to everyone you meet.

 

Like I said before, people are watching you so don’t just say, pray! Don’t just whine, shine! Don’t just speak, seek! Being an ambassador is something we are all called be, so rather than trying to argue with people or force them to listen to your gospel presentation, just live a life that shines for the King!

 

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV Strong’s)

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

 

Sometimes our witnessing is not gentle, neither is it respectful. Sometimes we force ourselves and our ideas on those not willing to listen. However, if you live an exemplary life before the, if you live a life of love and acceptance, then they are far more willing to listen when the time comes.

 

So to finish, I want to challenge you to shine your faith to everyone you meet. Look for opportunities to share the gospel, but let those openings be based on the testimony of a godly life shining before them.

 

Today, I want to ask you to write down 3 people you think you can be the Lord’s ambassador to. Three people that you can shine your light before, then be ready to give the reason for your life being such a light in this dark world. They could be friends, family, loved one, neighbours, business associates, workmates, doesn’t matter.

 

And then we are going to pray that these people see the life you live, and praise your father in heaven. I’m going to be so bold as to ask the Lord for the opportunity to share your faith honestly and openly with at least one of these people over the next month!

 

Just ask God for one opportunity to shine the goodness of God into their lives, and then be bold enough to tell them why you are shining for Jesus. Ask God for the opportunity, then trust Him for the results. Whether they accept Christ is His problem, not yours, your responsibility is to shine, and to be ready to give a reason for the hope within you.

 

https://ignitechurch.org.au/me-in-the-mirror-4-be-an-ambassador/