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Friday, August 1, 2014

The presence of God Part 2 | Mark Jones

The Presence of God Part 2 Mark Jones

This message was preached by Mark Jones at the Regions Beyond "Gather 2014" Leaders retreat at Igatpuri. This is part 2 of a two part series. to listen or download the audio mp3 file please click here.

The presence of God does not belong in the logic of our minds. How many times have you not done something for God because it did not make sense?

Are you just living in the logical or in the supernatural? I






THE PRESENCE OF GOD- 2

In psalm 27 David says, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

We desire to reach the nations, change situations, etc. yet we will say, one thing we desire. When we do this, everything is possible. So before anything else, we need to decide (before method or strategy) that this one thing is important.

Where God dwells there is total and absolute authority- that God’s glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea as we dwell in his presence. But this is for those who know how to dwell in his presence all the time.

Q. How do we do this?

  1. To know how to dwell in the presence of God, we must understand his heart for the church. God wanted a people who would be a light to the nations. To be his servant and carrier to the nations. God has made a royal priesthood.
It’s too small a thing to be here just for the people of God. The question to ask is – is it the dwelling place of God?

In Genesis 28, Jacob was fleeing and encountered God like never before. Heaven opened and there was a ladder reaching down and angels ascending and descending the ladder. God spoke to him. He could never forget this. He said this is the house of God. The gateway to heaven.

We are not just a group of people trying to get to heaven. We are the gateway of heaven that is on earth. Heaven is not closed today because of Jesus. So anyone who believes in Jesus becomes this gateway.

Heaven’s resources are available today. It’s a reality now. God tore open the heaven. All authority given to Jesus who said that we will do greater things than him.

We’ve been chosen by God to be a gateway to heaven through the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus for those who are called by the name of Jesus- this power is made available to them. We can have a foretaste of heaven now.

We need to be a people who understand how glorious we are. We are an active gate. The purposes of God to be made known- not by your own might but by the power of Jesus.

We can heal in Jesus name because God wants to display what happens in the heavenly realms here on earth. So we can come with confidence, authority, in the power of the Holy Spirit to see this earthly world transformed. It’s not about you, it’s about Him. He dwells in our presence with a purpose. You might think, “Who are we to do these things?” But the question to ask is, “Who is He?” We need to look at him and be lifted up as a people.  

  1. Renewal of the mind- it’s not about dealing with bad habits. It’s about God wanting us to have everything in our minds to start understanding the things of God. God wants your mind to be on his wavelength- to live in and understand who God is. But only what is beyond our understanding has the capacity to renew our mind.
The presence of God does not belong in the logic of our minds. How many times have you not done something for God because it did not make sense?

You can say- to die is gain only when your mind is renewed. We have made God very small in our eyes and in so doing, have limited ourselves. We are who we are because of the power of Jesus.

God is greater than we can imagine. The world would be of no significance to God- a drop of water, a speck of dust. It’s true. We must have our minds transformed so we can see who he really is.

We should see miracles on a daily basis. This is a serious issue. Every miracle is an advance of the kingdom of God. God wants to advance his kingdom by the supernatural. In Col 3 it says, set your minds on thing above. It’s quite a thing to stretch your mind beyond the normal. But when we mix it with the presence of God, it stretches our understanding.

We only use 40% of our brain at a given time. Therefore 60% is God’s!! Are you just living in the logical or in the supernatural? It should be an everyday occurrence. This world will be reached by people who understand the presence of God.

  1. We need to renew our faith and understand what faith is and what it is not. Faith must have its anchor in what is not seen. If you don’t you will make God small in your own eyes. We can base our faith on outcomes. Depending upon your experience, you may or may not believe. That is not faith. Faith finds its anchor in the character of God and in eternity. Faith has to go beyond your ability to believe and achieve something or discipling one another will become an issue of intellect and understanding.
If you want to dwell in the presence of God stop trying to believe something to achieve something and cry out for the gift of faith- faith that is anchored in the glory of God.
People get worn out because they do things out of duty and not a moment of faith.

Application:
If we want to understand how and dwell in the presence of God we need to be really devoted to him- to the point of giving everything to him.

He conceals truth from those who do not have a hunger for it. Devotion to God is about pursuing him and his ways. Pursuit creates passion.

Jesus told a parable of a man who found a field with treasure. That is passion and hunger. God wants us to be those who search for him.
God conceals himself at times, but only to the hungry. The hungry will get a revelation of God. God does not hide things from us but conceals it.

The Presence of God Part 1 |Mark Jones

The presence of God 1 Mark Jones
 This message was preached by Mark Jones at the Igatpuri Regions Beyond "Gather 2014" leaders retreat. He provoked us to keep the main thing the main thing. For the audio please click here.


What does it mean to be in the presence of God and how to live in presence of God?
Q. What distinguishes you from everyone else on the planet? Your methodology, worship, the way you do church, the preaching, your skills…




Everything that we do and can do except one, can be done by the world- and often, they can do it better and on a global scale. But what makes us different? When we walk into the nations, what will make us different? Moses was also very concerned with this question. With great enthusiasm he tried to deliver Israel the first time and he was exiled. He failed. Then he had an encounter with God and was commissioned and was very aware now of his weaknesses and limitations. He said do not let us leave this place unless your presence is with us. God said he would send an angel. But Moses did not want any substitute other than the presence of God.

Today, where churches are growing around the world, there is a temptation to go for substitutes because we lack the faith to go for the presence of God. Moses did not accept a substitute.

So I want to ask you to put your heart before God and completely deny all substitutes. In meetings like this we can often centre it around a message, a visiting preacher, when we should centre around the presence.

Sometimes we talk about the presence of God. But what is your expectation if the presence of God comes? What do you think will happen? Will we be the same when we leave from here?

Q. What does it mean to “press in to God”?
Simply this- that when you think you have prayed enough, start praying. When you think you have worshipped enough, start worshipping.
Would it not be strange if we preach on the presence of God without experiencing it?
It means, God dwells among us- its also very known to us. God’s presence is here but do you know the presence. We have become a dwelling place for God. His presence is here. Almighty God dwells upon us now. That should cause us to shout, get radical!

God dwells among us with an agenda. He is powerful and almighty. We have a problem- we don’t know how to exist with the presence of God. Some are afraid of him and do not feel worthy. However, he knows how to exist with us. He is eagerly awaiting for us to draw near to him and he with us.

God existed for all time. He is not a figment of someone’s imagination. He desired to establish a world where he would create a people for his own pleasure and that we would live in perfect peace and harmony. The earth belongs to the Lord and all its fullness.
The earth belongs to the Lord, but Satan had some issues. So 1/3rd of angels along with Satan were cast upon the earth. God created a garden and created humanity who walked with those in the garden and they communicated with him in harmony. God wants to restore this. 

The presence of God is not about feelings but God dwells with an agenda and it’s important that we understand that. We were called to rule the world, subdue the nations. God’s plan was that this paradise would expand from Eden and fill the earth and live in such a way that the glory of God would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Adam and Eve had Eden to work in to understand his authority and as they did this faithfully what they had as a promise they could experience.

When God’s presence is there, his authority is there as well. The only way to understand the spread of the presence of God is to understand his authority. God wants to bring transformation, not just change.

There is no church for us to learn before we achieve it. The more we look for methods and strategy it will take a long time. We are regions beyond and I wonder how many regions there are beyond?

In the Old Testament, the Spirit was not poured out yet. But he did not abandon them in judges we see after ‘the Spirit came upon him’- Samson, Gideon…
God never gave up on his people. In Haggai it says that the later glory will be greater than the former.

The baptism of Jesus comes and heaven opens up. “This is my son in whom I am well pleased”. The Spirit of the Lord descended upon him and he demonstrated what humanity could look like living in the presence of God. Wherever he went, there was transformation.
The woman with the issue of bleeding understood something of the presence of God. She knew she only needed to touch him. Mark 6- when he went to the villages, people just wanted to touch the helm of his garment and many people got healed. Jesus was a man with whom God was with. This is what we will look like if we dwell in his presence. He was showing us how to live.

In his presence the rule of his domain was at work. Seek first the Kingdom of God and this includes the presence of God and the agenda of God. It’s not a lovely feeling. When we encounter the Spirit of God, the presence of God, we will undergo transformation.

The disciples were eager for what Jesus had promised and suddenly a violent wind with tongues of fire came. Now Jerusalem, which was in excess of a million from every nation, all of them had their world changed with that violent wind. Those of Jerusalem heard the sound of the presence of God and all came to hear it. God poured out his presence and he said this is a new day of the presence of God.

What we now have far exceeds what the people in the Old Testament had. Peter and John walk up to the temple, the kingdom of God is within them. They walk past the lame man but on this day, we pray in Jesus name. It’s not more food or more change. How could they do that? They knew how to dwell in the presence of God- knew the authority of God.
God has not changed today. Satan trembles at the thought that we might know how to dwell in the presence of God.






  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Casting off- again| Mark Jones

This message was preached by   Mark Jones at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 20th of July, 2014. You can listen/download to the audioby clicking here


God wants to give us a miraculous catch in waters we have already fished in. we do not put confidence in the outcome but in God. We need to look at his face and not his hands.






Luke 5- Jesus was preaching in the temple and read that famous passage from Is 61. Jesus was challenging their views on the prophets.
Beginning something is very difficult. Getting momentum is hard whether it’s a book, job, diet, etc.
Jesus was moving through the land and see people being healed. Jesus knew he was not a one man band and gathered people who will establish local churches across the land.
Jesus knew what he was doing and we see that in Luke 5. He did not come to build the community out of the old one. He was challenging their view of the prophets. This upset people. Just as they rejected the prophets, they were rejecting him. There was no place for old wineskins. What was coming was far greater than what was before. The kingdom of God is advancing and like a fermented wine.
This is a new dynamic time and God is doing a growing fermentation. Don’t look back to the older days. Don’t look back but look forward to what God is fermenting here. I’m not saying the past is not important. Isaiah built memorials for God’s faithfulness. That is not old wineskin but celebrating the future. It’s time to become flexible.
Luke 6: rock and sand. Hear the word of the Lord. A new wineskin is established in the word of the Lord. There is a historic document that must be established. We don’t throw that out. Always establish on the word and not on culture. Don’t try and be culturally relevant and lose out on the word. Don’t build on traditions or sentiment- get caught up with things that are not important. The word of God stands for all times.
Jesus came to some very discouraged fishermen. That was his focus and not the crowds. Jesus knew what he was about.
Jesus went out on the boat with Peter. He wanted time with Peter. God knows each one of us. Jesus wanted Peter to experience something great because he was going to do something great with him.
God also breaks into our ordinary life- into his boat- school, college, work, etc. That’s where God breaks in. God has gifts to be used in the world place.
This was a prime moment for a miracle- when we have done everything and want to give up. What happens when you run out of steam? It’s at that point God says, “I have got you where I want you.”
This is the time God moves in and breaks in. it’s better when we are weak, we get there quicker. When Jesus asks Peter to put back out to sea. These men were alert for opportunity. Be ready in season and out of season. They took their nets with them. They were ready. Are you ready? Are you off somewhere else because you are tired of waiting? Let God know where you are. Despondency can lead you to retreat.
Peter was already marked out. Wonder what conversation Jesus and Peter had.
The call of God does not come in with a C.V. The call of God is defined by how you live your life.

The catch!
Jesus sends them back to the same place. The strategy is right. Let your nets down again. Do it. The breakthrough will come. Will you keep fishing in the place God has called you? Jackie Pullings did not have fruit for 5 years and now 100s are getting saved.
God wants to partner with this church for miracles. You will see great fruit. It’s time. Put your nets down again. Notice Peter encountered God like Isaiah.
The sovereign power of God convinces people. We should ask for an outpouring of His spirit. We need to spend more time praying that strategizing.

Then the commission came- I will make you fishers of men. Later 3000 get saved. God is calling us to partner with him for a day of power. Miracles to authenticate the preaching of the gospel. 

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Salt and Light | George Chow

This message was preached by  George Chow at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 13th of July, 2014. You can listen/download to the audioby clicking here


Have you been in a situation where the light suddenly went out? Have you been in a restaurant where there is not enough salt?
Jesus said some wonderful things about salt and light.






Matt 5:13- 16
Salt- Sodium Chloride- NaCl
Salt is one of the most abundant minerals. It’s one of the most stable compound- dependable, trustworthy. Salt was a mode of money ‘you are salt’- you are valuable, precious, amazing.
Q. What can salt do? There are 14000 uses of salt. Preservative, medicinal, seasoning… we are useful.
We prevent decay and protect. That’s how we should be. Medicinal- it has healing power. We are to be healers of people. Jesus wants us to be in and among the people- we make life interesting. It enhances life, doesn’t change life. We bring out the natural flavour of people.
In Col 4:5- 6 it says “seasoned with salt”. What does that mean? It tastes good and satisfying.
·       It’s a cleansing agent- just like Jesus changes us.
·       Change agent- we are the accelerant for people to know Jesus.
·       Pest control- weeds, ants, etc.
·       Peace keeper- sprinkle salt on grease fire. Salt helps reduce conflict because it melts the walls and brings reconciliation. Mark 9:50 says “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
2 Kings 2:19- 21 Elisha uses salt to clean the springs.
Q. What is light? Radiant energy, visible, fast…
What is it used for?
Reveals dirt; health- vitamin D, lasers, gives hope- lighthouse, speaks truth.
C.S. Lewis quote- I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

The harsh reality is that we are in a bad condition- India has 1 billion unsaved. So how can we be salt and light in this country?  

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.