Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Wisdom From my Homeless Friend Shaz

“You tell me this”, said Shaz* as we sat over coffee, “You tell me: if there was a homeless person lying in the gutter, would it be a Christian or a druggie that stopped and helped him?  It would be the druggie every time.”

The parable of the Good Samaritan came to mind.  And I knew she was right.

I said “I agree with you Shaz.”

That stopped her for a second.

We had met for a coffee, but when we got there she refused to have one. Said she’s not paying that amount for a coffee.  I offered to buy her one but she refused that as well.  So I drank my coffee and she sat opposite me with nothing.  Instead she had the sugar bowl.  With a spoon she stirred and stirred as she spoke.  The constant stirring was mesmerising and I had to tear my eyes away from it.  Also it was easier than looking in to her tormented eyes the whole time.

But when I agreed with her, she stopped stirring for a second and said,

“Ha – we agree on something. What do we do now?”

Shaz’s and my relationship isn’t an easy one.  To be honest, I have no idea how to handle her.  And that’s something I constantly say to the Lord, believe me.

Before Shaz, I thought I was pretty experienced with all sorts of people.  When we had our home church for the outcasts there were times where we had seven heroin addicts sitting around our table at once for lunch.  We have had neo-nazi’s in our home, murderers, profoundly mentally disturbed people, lonely people, homeless ones, ice addicts, people I met while street preaching, whoever God sent.  They were difficult and God always gave us grace for each one.

I first met Shaz in March.  I preached at the homeless mission in the city and she was there.  Full of anger, bitterness, hard, cold as anything, she told me what her father had done to her from a terribly young age.  She asked me how God could forgive someone like that if he repented.  And why would she want to go to a place (heaven) where that animal might possibly be? She spat at me that nobody has been able to help her, even Christians.

As I listened to her story my heart broke.  And she was right too, I didn’t know how to help her. What the heck do I say to this woman who had been so wounded by the one who should have protected her?  ‘Oh God’, I cried out in my heart, ‘help me!  I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say to her.’

I didn’t know what to do, so I just put my arms around her little body, my head on her shoulder and cried.  I sobbed. I said I am so, so sorry that this happened to you and I was. I cried and cried as she stood there silent, as stiff as a board while I wet her shoulder with my tears.

Then she moved away from me and I heard her swearing and cursing as she left.  I said to God that I am sorry I failed.  I couldn’t get through to her and I had no idea how to help her.

Two weeks later she was back at the mission.

She came over to me and said roughly, “the compassion you showed me that other night saved my life.  I was going to go home and neck myself but after I met you I didn’t want to anymore.”

Then she swore and cursed Christians and left.

And pretty much that has been our relationship since.  She clings to me, she pushes me away.  She seeks me out, she runs and hides.  Like a puppy who’s been abused and is scared of being hurt again.  One time she came up behind me at the mission and hugged me.  She literally clung to me.  The anointing and love of the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly that I just cried and prayed in tongues while I hugged her back.  And she clung and clung.  Then she ran out of the building.

As we sat at coffee that morning she cursed and called me a hypocrite. Everything I said to her was wrong, and she told me off the whole time.  It was exhausting.

I left feeling like I had failed, yet there was an inexplicable joy in my spirit.

Two days later in the mail I got a card from Shaz in child-like, painstakingly neat handwriting saying that she can’t tell me this to my face but I am the only true friend she has ever had and that she loves me.

She said she doesn’t know how to be with “normal” people and that is why she hangs out with the street-people.

I cry for these ones. These ones who haven’t known love.

Not long after this we visited a local Baptist church, a good and decent church we sometimes go to.  The pastor explained that they want to build a bigger auditorium to be able to seat more people at once to cut down on the number of services over weekends.  To do this they are raising $2 million to replace the perfectly good auditorium they already have.  I looked around and I knew that they would get that $2 million.

I cry for the church.

 

 

*not her real name

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The Old-Time Gospel Vs Seeker-Sensitive Model

You can’t adopt the Church Growth model Hillsongconf instagramand remain faithful to the truth of the gospel.

You can’t be “seeker sensitive” and fear God at the same time.

Seeker Sensitive Movement:

  • no talking about divisive, uncomfortable topics such as hell, sin, judgement, the blood, the cross or repentance;
  • contemporary music;
  • 20 minute sermons on relevant topics such as Self, motivational talks or psychology;
  • facilities, facilities, facilities

Even though one of the founders of the movement, Bill Hybels, has since repented of his part in creating this model, it has infiltrated and influenced the church across the Western world. Many younger people have no other experience of church but this hyper-loud, blacked out, motivational system.

We need to decide: who do we serve? God or mammon? Who do we seek to please ? Christ or man? Who do we follow? Jesus Himself or some dude with a business model.

The man in the street can see it, but sadly Christians can’t. The man in the street (ie Twitter) is asking why Hillsong charges $379 per ticket for their conference. With over 20,000 people in attendance this week millions of dollars has been raised. When there is that much money and power changing hands over a period of a few days it is necessary to question, critique and judge whether this movement is godly or Biblical.

We are told to “judge righteous judgement “ by Christ. Does this movement stand up to the scrutiny of the Word of God? At the Hillsong conference did they preach the gospel? Was sin addressed? Were thousands of people told the truth about heaven and hell?

And how does it compare to revivals of the past? (Did the Welsh revival charge an exorbitant ticket price to gain entrance?)

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5

I’m over it. I just want Christ. I want the truth of the gospel: the bloody, gory, self-sacrificial truth of someone having to die for sinners on a cross. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  I just want to see Him glorified. He who is ascended to the right hand of the Father, the One who is coming back and whom will rule the earth. I want to hear about Him, not a church, a system or self.

Friends, the gospel works. The old rugged cross, death to self, Christ and Him crucified: this is what saves people, regenerates people, transforms people. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen prostitutes come to Christ, people saved out of the occult, out of drugs. Not through some self-help motivational psycho-babble but through the truth of the shed blood of a Saviour who came from heaven to earth to save sinners!

It’s time now to make a stand for the truth for which Christ died.  We are at a significant point in the history of humankind, whereby we need to decide whom we really serve: man or God?

I don’t know about you but this is what I want to hear one day when I stand before the judgment seat of Christ,

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:21

 

 

 

 

 


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The Church is Busy with its Programs While Christ is Outside of it

Much of what is missing in the organized Church today is the work, or move, of the Holy Spirit.

We totally underestimate the Spirit of God and what He can do if we let Him.

We have over- organized and created programs for this and that instead of seeking God and letting Him lead by His Spirit.

God has a will, an opinion, a way but we don’t even recognize that fact anymore.

I often feel like the organized church is a slave mill: keeping people over- busy, working them in to the ground, churning out program after program- and what for? “There is a way that seems right to man but the end of it is death”.

God Himself has a way. It is by His Spirit. It is the centrality of Christ. The Spirit of God when He is working will always point to and exalt Jesus Christ. If Christ is not center, if He’s not there, then it is a work of the flesh. Get rid of it! Stop wasting everyone’s time, repent and seek God’s face.

We often use this scripture “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20) as an evangelistic tool. But it’s not. Jesus said this to the CHURCH in Laodicea. He was outside the church. Pushed outside His own church because He wasn’t needed anymore, “we have a program”!!

Lord have mercy, wake up your church.

amen

 

 


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God’s Hidden Dealings with His Servants

When God calls someone to His service He begins by dealing with them in secret.

In a hidden place is where our ministry for God begins. Secretly, just you and Him, hidden away together. Like a lovers’ tryst. We meet with Him in the secret place and we tell Him all that’s in our hearts, our worries, our sins, our thoughts, our hopes and dreams. And He speaks to us, He shows us things, meets with us. It is in the secret place that He does His deepest work in us. When we meet with Him there is nothing He cannot do, for we willingly offer ourselves to Him, simply in the deliberate act of going to spend time with Him. Healing, deliverance, forgiveness, joy, cleansing, calling, commissioning, authority, anointing are all available in the secret closet of prayer.

Written on my heart in and in my spirit are the special times I have spent with the Lord in prayer, times that I will never forget.

It is where I got to know Jesus. My prayer closet used to be in my living room on the rug after everyone else had gone to bed. I remember one day in the sunshine I looked at that rug and was amazed to discover it was covered with many little dots all over it. At first I wondered what the circles could be. Suddenly I realised they were my teardrops, shed over many years in the presence of the Lord on that rug.

That rug was the first place I met the Lord and was broken under the weight of my sin. The rug was where He kept calling me and drawing me back to, like the beloved in the Song of Songs. I had young kids at the time and I remember through the exhaustion of days with toddlers I would long to get to night-time just so I could meet with Him again.

The Principle

The prayer closet was where Christ called me, commissioned me and got me to preach to Him the first time. He told me to begin the food pantry from our garage which lasted 8 years and springing off from that a prayer meeting was borne, a home fellowship began and people were saved.

That was my training ground. It was years of apprenticeship before my life’s work began. The secret place was where it all really begun, yet the fruit spread out in the open and things began to happen.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in Secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:5-6).

When something is birthed in the Spirit in the secret-ness of prayer, then it is a true work of God and it will start to move out in to the open without our having to force it.

God said to Elijah, after he proclaimed a drought in Israel to evil King Ahab

“‘Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide thyself by the Brook Cherith…’ ” 1 Kings 17:1-3

Go hide thyself. Just you and me. And thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly… God had more work to do in Elijah before He would send him out for the huge victory at Mount Carmel. He had to be made ready, sharpened and polished for his work.

The Fruit

It was “after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah….saying “Go show thyself…” 1 Kings 18:1

When it was time and God had finished His preparatory work in Elijah then he was sent out from the Lord’s presence.

A true prophet, (one who speaks for God), has been with the Lord, spent time in His presence before he/she goes out and speaks to man on God’s behalf. And Elijah carried out from the Lord’s presence a word from God. It was to tell Ahab that “I will send rain on the earth.” 2 Kings 18:1

“…a man who kneels before God will stand before men.” Leonard Ravenhill

If we want to truly minister then it begins in secret, just you and God. When it is time, He will send you out to carry His Word to others and you will begin to bear fruit for Him.

You see it comes down to this: from where does it originate?

You want to work for God? From Where does your work originate: heaven or earth?

One is the heart of God, planned in the counsels of heaven and revealed and birthed through the Holy Spirit in His Church on earth. When the Spirit works through the Church eternal fruit is brought forth.

The other is the arm of flesh. Man looks around at the needs of man on earth or in the Church-system and plans what he can do to help. But there’s no divine imprint on it and it will be dead works because it originated on earth rather than in heaven.

 

This principle also applies to Moses, Christ Jesus and the Apostle Paul. All were dealt with secretly for years before God sent them forth on their divine missions. We are often in a hurry but God is not. God is after fruit that will last and He will spend much time and energy in preparing His servants for His work, after all the testimony of Christ on this earth is a stake! Let us seek God Himself in secret, and from that place of living relationship He will reward us openly.

 

God bless!

Belinda


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A Message for the New Year

Dear friends,

As we are about to see in the year 2019 I felt to share the sermon which the Lord used to save me.  It has been over 10 years since I last listened to it, and having just re-listened it has spoken to me, challenged me, changed me again by the power of the Spirit of God.

I encourage you to listen to it prayerfully.  I believe that anyone who does so cannot remain the same.

I don’t know about you, but I am over the programs, formulas and business strategies that are being used wholesale in the Western church today in the pursuit of building our own kingdom.  I am sick of Church without God and a cross-less Christianity.

“That’s what the Chinese Christian said you know when he got back to China: “what’s impressed you most about America?”  he answered “the great things Americans can accomplish without God”

Ten Shekels and a Shirt by Paris Reidhead

https://youtu.be/9d7mhAY5FVw

May God bless you as you listen to this message.

Belinda


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Missionary Quotations: A.B. Simpson

AB Simpson

AB Simpson

“The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost!”  A. B. Simpson


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Missionary Quotations: Derek Prince

“Brothers and sisters you are missing a lot if you don’t get involved in reaching the unreached.  You can sit here in a comfortable church and derekhave a wonderful time but the real rewards are for the people whose hearts are with those who have never heard.”

Derek Prince