Watch some of the highlights from our East African Regional Conference, led by Pat and Amanda Antcliff! To find out more about how you can be involved, check out c32020.com
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work
The Apostle Paul talks about two approaches to giving; how to give and how not to give. He instructs us not to ‘give sparingly and reluctantly’, but instead to ‘give generously and freely’.
The one who gives ‘sparingly and reluctantly’ is one who gives some, but still withholds – you know, like Ananias and Sapphira. Sure, they’ll give something; they may even tithe. But they approach God with their money like this; “God, I will give to you what I will give to you and I will hold the rest back for myself. What’s the least that I need to give to follow Christ? 10%, I heard? Deal. Lock me in on those terms. I will give you 10%. I will keep 90%. This small pile is yours. This big pile is mine.”
Well, what if God wants some from that big pile?
What if God wants all of the big pile?
Who is the master of our lives – God, or the big pile?
Either the big pile belongs to God, or the big pile is our God.
To be ‘generous’ and ‘free’ in our giving is to not ‘withhold any of our pile’ from God, in the same way that He did not withhold His son, but rather gave Him completely over for us as a sacrificial offering. So that by His offering we could receive forgiveness of sin and liberty from death, not by our merit, but by His grace.
So, the whole ‘His pile/my pile’ approach seems a bit insulting, doesn’t it? Following Jesus begins with surrender – including a surrender of your whole pile. The question isn’t ‘how much do we dare to give?’ The question is ‘how much do we dare to keep?’
He is faithful. He is able.
Written by Steve Burgess
C3 Cares exists to help people in need, in crisis or isolation across Sydney. We believe in community and bringing a message of hope and practical support. C3 Cares Dee Why recently had their first outdoor service where we saw two people receive Christ, and four people healed! Many people gathered and heard a message of hope, including a short testimony and the Gospel.
A Buddhist monk was brought into the service by one of our GO team. He heard the Gospel, gave his heart to Jesus, and was set free from depression and anxiety. He said He could see and feel Jesus and will be coming along to our Alpha courses, and bringing his mum with him!
Another lady approached our prayer tent and wanted to talk to one of our team. She had recently lost a loved one and was suffering with grief. We prayed for her and she felt the peace of God and received the Prince of Peace into her life right then and there.
C3 Cares provides the perfect opportunity to connect with the community. Church without walls. The bad news is that people have the wrong idea about who Christians, the Church and God are. The good news is that we can change those opinions and judgements one person at a time.
For more info on C3 Cares please visit their website www.C3cares.com.au
We have the honour of sharing devotionals from Lars & Megan Halvorsen, from C3 Darwin! Read Megan’s devotional about making the most of our today below:
Psalm 116: 16 (MSG) Oh God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service!
One of the great benefits of salvation is freedom. Freedom from sin, guilt, shame, our past, sickness, bondage and the list goes on. It is for freedom He has set us free!
What is the purpose of this freedom though? The world would tell us that freedom is all about the ability to run your own life, forge your own path, follow the desires of the flesh and be free from the restrictions others place upon us.The true freedom of the Kingdom is of course different. I love the heart cry of David here in this Psalm: “Set me free for your service!” He had the revelation that the purpose of his freedom in Christ was to actually freely lay his life down in service to God.
One of my favourite things is hearing people’s joy when they discover the fulfillment that comes from serving. As we serve God, others, our church and our community we bring a revolution!
No matter what role, title or function we perform, let’s always keep at heart: “God, here I am, your servant.”
Giving thanks is so much more than saying grace before a meal. It may include this, but it goes way beyond it.
Paul’s constant personal giving of thanks, and encouragement to give thanks, is a feature of his life and letters. A cursory reading could make it appear incidental, a nice opening phrase, or filler that has cultural value, in that it is a common form of greeting. But, we would miss the point entirely were we to treat giving thanks so casually.
Giving thanks is a significant part of his letters. It is the New Testament equivalent, and some, of Old Testament regulations for approaching a holy God in worship. This being so, the giving of thanks assumes an importance that is difficult to over state, and one that is not wise to under project.
Suddenly we are faced with something that isn’t just a cute phrase, as though giving thanks was largely a positive habit that had wonderful side benefits in outlook and relationships. In other words it is a good habit that has good outcome – good for you.
Pragmatism, however, is not the modus operandi of giving thanks – the praise and worship of God is.
Giving thanks demands of us much more than the perfunctory, the casual, or an erratic fulfilment. It requires heart, obedience, and consistency.
If approach to God in the Old Testament era were highly regulated, specified and serious, why would we imagine that the worship of God for us is something less? It is certainly more wonderful, and is based on a better way through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, and it isn’t demanded of us that we appear with lambs and bulls for sacrifice, but this isn’t to cheapen or to make casual our worship of God. It is still costly – bloody in its own way.
When the nation approached God in worship and sacrifice their individual feelings weren’t even on the agenda. God was. Our feelings were of little to no account in the temple-based worship of the law.
We, however, have mistaken the freedom to give thanks and worship with the right to be guided (hijacked) by our current emotional state.
For this reason Paul speaks of a sacrifice of praise. It is a sacrifice in that it is offered to God, and it is a sacrifice in that it is done regardless, regularly, in spite of our feelings, and is God focused not outcome oriented.
We are the poorer if our worship is impelled by our feelings. We are the richer if we worship no matter the circumstance.
Giving thanks is not an optional extra – it is fundamental, and it is a lens through which we will see much of God’s nature and goodness. Failure in one is failure in the other.
“Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good.”
Written by Simon McIntyre
Sometimes it’s just one word that catches your attention … in this case it was two! I was reading the words of Jesus to his disciples who had eagerly asked the Lord; “teach us to pray.” Jesus responded by teaching them the Lord’s Prayer, then He challenges the disciples that all they need to do is to ask, to seek and to knock! He then tells them a story how they should do this … and it is in this story where these two words are hidden which captured my heart!
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of yourshameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. Luke 11:5-8 (NIV)
Wow these two words … shameless audacity … powerfully struck me. I was stirred by them … and I could not shake them. All day, I kept repeating these words to myself … shameless audacity … over and over again!
I reread the passage in a number of Bible versions and found that different words were used to describe this person and their prayers … persistent, importune and impudent!
Interestingly the person in this story did not just persistently ask but they did so to the point of being annoying and even rude.
Shameless audacity though is even stronger.
When you are shamelessly audacious you are … more bold … more rude … more pushy … more feisty … more offensive … more unrestrained … more reckless!
When you are shamelessly audacious you have absolutely no consideration for what is proper, decent or appropriate.
The thing that really WOWED me was that God loves it when we are shamelessly audacious! It attracts him … it captures his attention … and causes him to act. We need to remember that Jesus is encouraging us to:
- Have shameless audacious faith
- Make shameless audacious requests
- Do shameless audacious acts
I believe the future of our church, ministries, family and revelations are on the other side of our shameless audacity.
So let’s choose today to engage in being shamelessly audacious!
We have the honour of sharing devotionals from Colin & Beth Blois from Hope City Sheffield // Read Colin’s devotional below!
Matthew 17:20 “Nothing will be impossible for you”
Everything God is calling you to is possible! But simultaneously everything he calls you to requires faith. It is impossible for God to over-promise and under-deliver; every part of your destiny is attainable.
In Matthew 17 we see a group of disciples who are desperately trying to work a miracle – each taking it in turn to try to cast out a demon (something that they have already been given authority to do). Each tries. Each fails. Each tries again but each fails again. I can imagine them desperately trying every trick in the book to attempt to work this miracle before Jesus arrived on the scene. I can feel their embarrassment as a crowd begins to form to watch the disciples failure. Even the dad of the demon possessed boy highlights their inadequacy as Jesus arrives “I brought him to the disciples but they couldn’t do anything” (v.16) OUCH!
The point is this. We were never meant to have faith in faith, but faith in Christ. And in this beautiful moment the dad breaks the circle and runs to bring his boy to Jesus. Why? Because faith is not a resource, faith is a relationship.
How often do we live our lives desperately trying to work a miracle before Jesus shows up in the hope he will be impressed with what we’ve done. We hustle up, waiting our turn to impress the crowd. We so often think that faith is a mechanical technique that God has given us in order to live our lives in His absence. However its very essence is the exact opposite, it causes us to run to Jesus with the very things that we can’t fix, knowing that he can.
Your faith may not be perfect today, but it lays itself upon the One who is. It may feel inadequate but it seizes the One who is sufficient. It may today feel defeated but it unites you with the One who has already won. So today let’s “look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)
WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH…” Proverbs 29:18
Vision is so important in the life of a church. People get involved in church life because the vision captures their hearts and imagination. They give to vision. They sacrifice their time because of vision. People will push through discouragement, spiritual attacks and all sorts of challenges, where there is a clear purpose that we are working towards together. Here’s a few thoughts about vision.
1) Vision comes from God
Habbakuk 2:1 “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected”
The church belongs to Jesus. He has a clear picture of what He wants it to be. It’s up to us to get into His presence and let Him speak to us.
Seasons of seeking God for fresh vision are vital. Getting outside of our normal day to day environment is so important so we can tap into God’s plans and thoughts for our church. I find that at least 3 or 4 times a year I need to get into an atmosphere charged with faith and the presence of God, hanging around big people to allow God to show me things that I would not be open to when in my normal routine.
When I know a vision comes from God, I can present it with a passion and energy that comes from the Holy Spirit. That anointing captivates people.
2) Vision is fleshed out with team
While we might hear from God during a mountaintop experience, we need to work with a team of highly invested leaders to get that vision into clear language that resonates with people. It may sound exciting and clear to you, but if your team looks perplexed when you explain vision to them (whether it be for an event or a new way of doing things), take the time to discuss, distill & find phrases that really capture what it is you see together. Then, work with the team on strategies for communicating and implementing the vision.
3) Communicate vision with passion, pictures & stories
Vision comes from deep within us. It’s not the latest trend or passing fad. It’s the true north that we are sailing towards. Authenticity allows us to communicate with passion. Passion isn’t necessarily loud – it’s not hype. It’s that we are living for something worth dying for.
Great visionary communicators paint a clear picture of the future. This picture is vivid so that people can see it and imagine themselves in it.
Communicating vision should be both on a macro and micro level. The big picture is the macro. The micro is telling stories from the past that illuminate why we do what we do. These stories help people see the vision in action. Describing in detail an auditorium filled with people worshiping Jesus is macro. Micro is telling the story of how Harry almost took his life but met Geoff from our church and has gone on a journey of transformation that began with inviting Jesus into his life. Both are vital in helping people capture the vision.
4) Vision leaks
Just because we’ve had Vision Sunday, doesn’t mean everyone is still pumped about the vision 4 weeks later. Vision leaks. While we might live our lives as pastors continually thinking about the House of God and taking ground, our average member doesn’t live in that space. For me, every Sunday is Vision Sunday. We need to find moments in all of our services (and beyond) that reinforce why we do what we do and where we are going together as a church. Whether it’s through testimonies, multi-media, social media or preaching – continue to elevate the vision and promote people who are aligned and living examples of the vision in action.
Written by John Pearce