Thursday, November 28, 2013

THE HUB 2013 | Building multi generational church - Fusi Mokoena

This message was preached at theHUB conference 2013 in Dubai which is the annual Regions Beyond  ( led by Steve Oliver) family of churches gathering . This message was preached by Fusi Mokoena

God is mobilizing the world in a way we do not understand. As we take risks the sovereignty of God comes into play.

God wants to build a church with risk takers- because we don’t know what God will do.
How do we build a multi-generational church that will thrive from one generation to the next? Many movements have come, churches planted, revivals have come- but some of them do not exist anymore or from movements they have become monuments. 
Some grand churches in the U.K have been converted to pubs today. Maybe at one time it was a thriving church. What went wrong? My guess is sometimes,, we start well, become successful or you build around yourself or a  heresy creeps in. sometimes, its so outward looking but later they start looking inward.

Through history- a church can be birthed in persecution. When persecution stops, the gospel advance stops. What has gone wrong?

They never built well multi-generationally. Often the spirit of the church changes from hunger to satisfaction, from eagerness to maintaining status quo, outward to inward…

Building to God:
Newfrontiers has multiplied to many spheres. Why should we do it?

1.      It is Biblical- Moses- Joshua, Elijah- Elisha, Abraham- Isaac- Jacob. 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others."
2.      It requires energy- you will not have the same energy 30 years from now. The generation will give you their experience.
3.      History shows us that most churches died because they did not do this
4.      For gospel advance- we need to gain momentum. The danger for the younger generation is not to learn from the older ones and the older ones not making room for the younger ones.
Saul started badly, David thrived. Solomon started well and then failed.
1 Sam 15:10
1 Sam 13:14
1 Kings 11:4-6
By the fourth generation the kingdom split.

1.      Saul did not raise leaders. It was restrictive and religious. He wanted to kill Jonathan for eating honey and crushed his spirit.
Build a Christ centered leadership. Saul built a monument for himself.

2.      David- saw what the Kingdom of God should look like. He trained men- committed. David was a worshiper- a man after God’s own heart- had a heart for the poor. He remembered Mephiboseth. He was building to God and not to himself. 

3.      Solomon- you now have a nice building. Truth is passed down. before long, Solomon compromised truth and the result he brought the cultures of the world to infiltrate the church. Solomon was wise buyt something went wrong somewhere and the kingdom declines.
Why?
What can we learn and what challenges will we face?

Lessons:

This is for us together and local church.
1.      Build to God- God raises leaders in the church in his own way. He took Gideon. God equips trains and releases. Christ centered leadership multiplies itself. We need to multiply gifts. The only way we can do that is to hold things lightly and build to God.
Its radical but sensible- it takes risks but is also discerning. The church belongs to Jesus and wants to see it go from one generation to the next.

2.      It needs leadership overlap- allow a time of overlap- older generation running with the next side by side for a while. Jesus’ ministry was a ministry of overlap. He trained the 12, the 72. Older generation build and instruct at the same time. Go together. Younger generation- build and observe- learn.

3.      You train- we need to build a culture where you train. You don’t stop training. Saul liked victories but did not like victors. Saul did not like David. David built differently. We need to train knowing that one day God will use them in the regions beyond.
Older generation- train someone. Take someone with you. In our churches we have to think differently. We need to train to unleash the lion. We train to release. Men and women, lets invest in training.

Pray leaders in- we need robust prayers.
4.      Keep it missional- the only time that Saul and David fought together was when David gate crashed with food and then fought Goliath.
We need to train for mission. If your church has the DNA for mission it will see itself as a multi generational church.

Tom Wright said, “Church is the body of Christ for God’s mission in the world.” When you release responsibility, it keeps it multi- generational.

Challenges:
We don’t like challenges.

1.      Older Generations- the spirit of perfectionism. We need risk takers. In Judges- Deborah- in those days, it was risky. God wants to use the ladies. Gideon who was a coward was called a mighty man.
God is not looking for perfection. Jeptha- mother was a prostitute. Samson,  David, all had faults.
When we build lets discern what God has put in people. None of us were perfect when we started. Perfectionism can be like legalism. Don’t find faults. Don’t be too structured. It needs to be relational. We need leaders who understand the gospel but we raise sons and daughters.
Paul talks to Timothy- my beloved son. Learn relation ally.

2.      Younger generation-
a.       Be mission oriented- not consumer oriented. The gospel of consumerism- “Jesus will meet all my needs gospel.”  How will you grow if you skip from one church to the next? We are here to build and go to the nations.
Today, it’s all about ‘me’ not ‘you’- ‘Jesus who died for me’. We need to build from an understanding of what has gone before us. Come to be trained, discipled and built into the purposes of God.
b.      Contextualize but do not compromise- understand the culture but do not compromise the truth. If we do not build to God we will land ourselves in trouble. Learn from those who have built and labored hard. Wouldn’t it be sad if we go back to what the older generation fought to get away from?
c.      Don’t be quitters- this generation has this problem. They want to arrive. They want the platform. When we don’t get it we quit.
Titus (Galatians 2) called by God- Titus started by carrying bags, then a postman. There is a process in growing as a leader. If you quit you won’t see God’s purpose in your life. We need to allow that process. Then he sends him to the Crete. It was a process. If we allow this, we will see something of God echo from the older generation to the next and to regions beyond.

God is calling us to grow from now to the centuries in the future. If we don’t we will be a monument and not a movement.

Let’s go and build a multi-generational church. We have to build differently and think differently because this has to go to the next, the next and the next generations. We can do this!      






THE HUB 2013 | Defining Moments - Ray Lowe

This message was preached at theHUB conference 2013 in Dubai which is the annual Regions Beyond  ( led by Steve Oliver) family of churches gathering . This message was preached by Ray Lowe

Luke 5:1- 3 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat."


This was a defining moment for Peter. We can’t afford to miss them sometimes, on which so much rests. All else that Peter did is because he responded in the right way here.

Martin Luther’s action of questioning the indulgences set off the Reformation.
In 1735 George Whitfield was asked to speak to someone in prison. He speaks from John 3 and the 2 prisoners are saved- crying out ‘I’m saved’. Whitfield is bewildered- goes home and ponders on the thief on the cross who realizes that the thief could not do anything. This moment started a great awakening.

In 1861- Wesleyan society conference- William Booth’s method was not accepted by everyone. He hated Calvinism. He was firing evangelists. Some thought he should be reined in. wife shouted, “never William, never”. That started the Salvation Army. It was a defining moment.

In 1898- Methodist minister (America) gathered 40 students every year. Got them to study Acts 1-5- realized that the Baptism of the Spirit was indispensable. Agnus Osmond- asked for baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoke in Chinese for 3 days. They all spoke in known languages and then went on to those countries as missionaries. The start of the Pentecostal charismatic movement!

Billy Graham- the night before his first crusade had an encounter with God.

What do they all have in common? They did not have a clue that it would be so big. Today we look at it with hind sight at their success. They did not know it would be this way.

Luke is the only one who records the defining moment for Peter.
In Regions Beyond, this new phase of us coming together-
Jesus was not unknown to Peter. Peter may have even witnessed healing. He is having a bad night. He is happy to loan his boat to Jesus. He did not know what was coming. Peter was a middle class business man. Fishing was his skill and knew when to fish and knew he could have had a bad night. You still need to clean the nets even though empty.
Jesus is a preacher/healer but knows nothing about fishing in the natural.
He tells Simon to ‘go fishing’. Why did he do it? It just seemed like the right thing to do. That’s true for us.

1.      Obedience- they learnt it in the natural and in the spirit. Peter was impetuous, reckless, failed publicly. But Jesus had him in hand. Discerning the will of God is tough sometimes. The timing of God is important to know. These are defining moments- when we will have to conclude whether there is God or not.

G Booth- Booth’s son’s very different from his father. He has a strange experience – a woman climbs into his room and tells them her story which was tragic (child prostitution). William Booth did not want to get involved. Gram well felt this was the leading of God. Those days, age of consent was 12.  He fought to raise the age and the  result was the age was raised to 16.

John and Betty Stan in 1930 moved to China and were martyred. 700 men and women volunteered for mission work at their funeral.
It’s important to know what’s gone before. Obedience is tough.

2.      Partnership- we see it here. They call the other boats for help. We talk so much about team. This is vital to everything we do. Newfrontiers was built on relationships and we need to keep it that way. Not one fish was lost because he asks for help.
The next three years they are jockeying for position- strange. He did not say he did not want them to be great- but not in worldly terms but in serving.
Even at the last supper, they are arguing about who will be the greatest. We are not in competition.

History is not on our side when it comes to this.
Reformation in Europe- it could have achieved so much more. Luther and Zwingly divided over breaking of bread. This opened the door to Counter Reformation.

Whitfield-Wesley- the followers alongside the Great Awakening did not achieve what it could have.

We can do more together than apart- we can make history of working together not jockeying for position. Wesley did not do a good job at the end of his life.
They were great men of God but we learn from their mistakes. We are here for one another’s success.

3.      For Peter this defining moment was about too much. He was undone. He could cope with miracles but Jesus recruiting was almost too much for him. His response was “go away, I am a sinful man”. I don’t think it was sin. He just didn't feel worthy. It was the realization that he was encountering the awesome and big recruited by the most magnificent being ever. He was then to have full revelation.

When Isaiah went into the temple and encountered God, he was undone. This is an attitude for a lifetime and not for a moment. It was like that for Abraham, Moses, Joshua… it was something they lived with.

This Conference is a defining moment. We will model something- about partnership around the world.

     

THE HUB 2013 | Jonah and Regions Beyond - Stephen Van Rhyn

This message was preached at theHUB conference 2013 in Dubai which is the annual Regions Beyond  ( led by Steve Oliver) family of churches gathering . This message was preached by Stephen Van Rhyn.
Jonah 1:1-
This is not a pretty start for Jonah. If the call was to go to “Jerusalem and preach against Nineveh” it would be great. But he got a call to go to Nineveh and proclaim judgment against that city.

Option 1- He goes and gets killed
Option 2- The people respond and cry out to God for mercy.
Jonah did not like either option, so he did option 3- ran away in the opposite direction. He gets into a storm that is life threatening. Everyone is calling to God except Jonah.
Jonah confesses that he knows God but will not pray. They have a difficult situation- to remove the cause for the storm. Throw him overboard into the sea. The heart attitude of Jonah was - “I would rather die than obey God.”

Verse 16- you could think that v.16 is the end of the story. Those who resist the call of God will experience  serious consequences.
Be wise and listen to God.

V.17- this is one of the most amazing verse in the Bible. The Lord provided a great fish. Jonah was angry with God and mad with God and yet God provides a rescue fish showing mercy.
If you look carefully you will see yourself in chapter 1. You were saved and rescued by the mercy of God. God did something more radical- he sent his son not a fish to swallow you but to save and rescue you. God had mercy and grace.

From the belly of the whale he gets revelation- on the problem and solution. 

Chapter 2- his psalm 51- of repentance- “those who cling to mouth less idols- salvation comes from the Lord.”
Jonah’s problem-  He was an idol worshiper i.e. not man-made idols but of that which he had constructed in his mind- his way of thinking that stopped him from following God. His identity of being a man of God stopped him from following God. He did not want to go to another people group- that they follow God and become like him. He wanted to be unique.
He realized he was saved by grace and grace alone and God could save others too.

Ch 2: 10- the fish vomited him on the beach.
The word comes a second time. This is the brilliant thing- he is the God of second chances. He does not write him off. God comes to us multiple times because he is faithful and he re-commissions him.

Chapter 3- Nineveh was an important city. Jonah goes and preaches to them and the people respond including the King.

Verse 10-when God saw what they did he had compassion and did not bring the destruction he had said. The book could end here but it does not.

There is a chapter 4. The Bible is brutally honest. This book is a sobering book. You can be miraculously saved but partially obey God and  not reach our potential and call to reach the nations.

  •     Jonah did not give the full message.

Was Nineveh under the judgment of God?- Yes.
Was he to communicate judgment?- Yes. (God is a God of judgment)
But that was not the only message in the light of his own experience. He should have shared his own experience and his encounter with the mercy of God and his incredible strength.   

  •     Jonah’s idols revive- the thing that stopped him from fulfilling God’s call on his life comes up again- he was a racist. You can be saved and miraculously rescued and still be a functional racist. He did not want them to receive mercy. He believed he was uniquely chosen by God because of his ethnicity. If you deserve grace- it’s not grace. Grace is for the undeserving- unmerited.


Racial pride and cultural narrowness are mutually exclusive. But this natural tendency is arrested by the gospel.

  •       God comes to Jonah the third time. In Ch 4:4- “have you any right to be angry”. Jonah does not answer God. Jonah thinks God will destroy the city. God provides a vine in the hot sun.

Verse 7-8: Jonah has another tantrum. What’s going on here? For a Jewish prophet to hear what God said broke every concept in his Jewish mind. Nineveh was God’s city that he tended and cared for.

Every city that we live in has grown because God is tending it. There is a huge prophetic trumpet call going out. Shall I not care about the other people groups in the nations?
God is deeply concerned that He sent his son to die for every people group.

Jesus told his disciples to preach it to the ends of the earth- to every nation, language and race.

Do not let your identity stop the call of God on your life to the nations. We must feel the heart beat for the nations.


Q. What are the bondages? What is stopping you from being used by God?

Clear out the muck. Let’s deal with that- get it out of the way.
‘Here I am, send me’. There are new churches coming in Regions Beyond. Get into serving the nations not just wanting a little piece of Steve for your church.


How do we do this? We look to one who is greater than Jonah. He did not turn away from the call of God. he was not miraculously saved but died a gruesome death. He was not racially narrow but shed his blood for the nations.    

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The HUB 2013 | Battle for the first fruits - Steve Oliver


 This message was preached at the HUB conference 2013 in Dubai which is the annual Regions Beyond  ( led by Steve Oliver) family of churches gathering . This message was preached by Steve Oliver.
to listen/download to the mp3 audio please click here.

Welcome to the HUB. This is preparation time not only for the months ahead but for the years ahead.

In the last two years God has been preparing Regions Beyond and our sphere of influence has been spreading.

Is  55  Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”

This has begun to happen as the family is forming.  For what’s been formed it’s time to give birth to.

1Sam 29:11 – Ch 30
One and a half year we have gathered people looking into RB. We are living in significant times and don’t want to miss the moment. God has trusted us with so much. We have a great responsibility. We have fought hard for right theological understanding and values. Let’s not lag behind. It is also time for great humility and sensitivity which are crucial for our success.

It’s time to win some of our battles. We need to take our own ground as some others have taken.

This story is about a battle for the first fruits
David because of bad choices found himself in a difficult place and it almost derailed him. It’s working through difficult situations that he finds his strength with God and finds his way back to God and finds great breakthrough.

There are lessons for us to learn as well. We are setting the course and the ramifications are significant.

In 1992 I heard about the nations an stepped forward. The rest is history.
There will be battles in the establishing and the building of the apostolic sphere. There will be hardships and the enemy will not give ground willingly. We will need to be bold and courageous. We see that God comes to the rescue.

David finally returned to his family and they see smoke rising. – no family, only destruction. We see Jesus praying for us in Jn 17 and in the Lord’s Prayer – “deliver us from evil”.

 Dave Devenish. “It’s a biblical pattern- entrance into new areas will often be costly” Mysterious sickness, depression, converts turning on their faith, opposition, extended family pressure, visa issues etc. We need to engage in frequent and continuous prayer because we are coming face to face with opposition. We need to be prepared for this We are all being released into the purposes of God.

2. Verse 6 David was greatly distressed because the men wanted to stone him”
David required robust leadership. The blame games started and he is under pressure. We all need to step up in robust leadership.
In this David seeks God and then he has to go back to them and talk to them. Imagine how he did this. Leadership can be taught. There is an impartation for this. Moving from a local church to a vision for the nations takes robust leadership.

3. David turns to the source of his success. He finds his strength in God. M. Eaton calls this “A moment of spiritual restoration “He hears the voice of God again. The greatest thing is we can do as a church together is to hear God together. Let us never drift away from this.

4. David has faith in his God given community. i.e David’s community had grown . In this time of pressure they are now a “stoning bunch”. In 1 Sam 20:2 in the cave they were a “discontented bunch”
David never blamed his people. We need to find fresh faith- that we value every one God gives us.

1 Cor. 12:22 The eye cannot say to the hand….
David understood this. God loves to show his glory through the unschooled and those who “ are not”. This is what we are about and what counts : We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
David did not turn on his people. Let this mark our lives.

5. David enjoyed divine intervention. In the battle for the first fruits this is key. Look to God to break in on our behalf
You need God stories – to break in. We cannot take on all that God has called us to if we are only going to be pragmatic and organizational. We need to allow god to break through. We need to be a people of the Spirit and hear God.

6. For David faith is not in the size of his army but in His God.
Circumstances allow David to develop values. Some will go ahead, some will stay behind. But whatever we do, we do together. We will know times like this when values will develop in us. It developed/shape a value in David which became a lasting ordinance. Ch30:24-25  The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.

7. David modeled a generous “I am here for your success” leadership style.
This could have been his moment but what was not on his mind. It was God’s people and not his own success.
If we don’t do things God’s way we who will hear what we have to say?
David takes the plunder from town to town.
Stephen Van Rhyn  reminded us at the last TOAM that the new phase has to be about generosity. It is easy for us to hoard our success.
Let’s always be a generous people and be mindful of what’s happening the world over.

Let’s battle for the first fruits together.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Know God - know yourself | Colin D Cruz


This message was preached by  Colin D' Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 24 th Of November 2013. 
 How do we face the challenges of life? 
Read and listen to this  message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE


Sometimes situations may seem hopeless and dark. Cancer, big debts, stress at work, health issues. We face all kinds of situations and reasons not to get out of bed. We all have problems. How do we deal with it? God has been speaking to us right through the morning in the meeting.

We can deal with our problems by knowing who we are and stand in all that God has for us. The year is almost ending. We need to see who we are in relation to our God.

Mephiboseth- Jonathan’s son, son of Saul- Tragedy struck him at age 5. His father and grandfather died in battle. His nurse grabbed him to run and hide and in running she dropped him and he was crippled as a result of that.

2 Samuel 4:4- 2 Sam 9:

Mephiboseth is a picture of how we were at one time. David is not king and Saul was trying to kill him for many years. He was David’s enemy.  In the same way we were enemies with God. But David- a type/ picture of Christ asks about the House of Saul to whom he wants to show kindness for Jonathan’s sake.  This is how God is with us.

David and Jonathan made a covenant (1 Sam 20: 14) with each other. There was a friendship and agreement of kindness. Jonathan knew David would be king one day. Now David remembers that covenant. Ziba, a servant of Saul was summoned and was asked about Saul’s family. Ziba mentions Mephiboseth.

In verse 5 David asked for him.  He is living in ‘Lo debar’ i.e. a God forsaken place, back of beyond. We were like that- in a hopeless state.

Now he is summoned and he must have been afraid because he knew Saul has tried to kill David many times. (This is like Adam in the garden). He bows down and pays David honor. Mephiboseth calls himself a servant. He was the grandson of the first King of Israel!

Q. What does David do?
The first thing he says “don’t be afraid”.  He had reason to be and in the same way we have reason to be with GOD . David keeps his word. It was nothing Mephiboseth had done or could do.
The same way we come before God and God shows us kindness because of Jesus. We can’t do anything to get it. We are lost.

David gives Mephiboseth all his father’s inheritance. What grace and what a change in his fortune! Not only that, he was told to eat at the King’s table every day. What must have Mephiboseth’s response been? He bowed down .We need to realize that there is nothing good in us that we should be chosen by God.

 Mephiboseth gets all his inheritance and in a day his destiny is changed forever. He is treated as a son not a servant. Wow! That is what God has called you and me to. In our problems, we have to see ourselves differently.    

What will give us the strength to face trials? Its knowing this truth.
Titus 3:4- “…but because of His mercy.” Not because of anything good in us.
Are you aware of God’s loving kindness toward you?  As we were reminded this morning to come to Him and He will give you rest.

God wants to do the same for us as David did for Mephiboseth. Man wants to earn everything. No, God gives, we receive by faith. Go to Jesus and entrust your situations in His hand. That is our hope and will take us through.

Romans 8- God has given us Jesus. So why not everything else? This is the grace of God- undeserved!  

       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 ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.

    English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Walking with the Holy Spirit | Wellington Gomes

This message was preached by Wellington Gomes ( of River of Life Church Panjim )at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 17th Of November 2013. 
 How do we live the christian life led by the Holy Spirit?
Read and listen to this  message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE


Walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Many people ask how does one hear God ? 


Often we are the cross roads and wonder how to hear the voice of God. God has an exciting future for each one of us. We don’t have to go through life aimlessly.

In the Old Testament God poured out his Spirit on a particular people for a particular task and time.
Num. 27:18 Joshua - anointing for leadership skills and wisdom
1 Sam 26: Saul when in battle
Is 16:30 David equipped for the task of kingship

Joel 28 I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh- Pentecost was the fulfillment of this. After that it was unusual – the hiding cowardly disciples become bold and courageous. The unschooled teach the wise. It worked because the power of God was upon them. We want to see the same power upon every Christian. M Eaton “It was an expression of God’s spirit that immediately led to God’s power and boldness… joy and great generosity” The Spirit transformed their lives. May it be so that we will make an impact on the city? Let’s believe God for it.

The Spirit of god comes to empower, lead and unify us.

What is it like to be led by the Holy Spirit ?

Rom8:14  For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
We have to be led by the Spirit
Gal 5:25 Keep in step with the Spirit

When you walk like this:
1 )We will be directed by God in everything we do. We will be spirit led. If we don’t we can miss out of God given opportunities.
Act 16:6-10 he Spirit kept them preaching the gospel.
V7 Paul hears God saying in a vision to go to Macedonia. He went there and he got beaten up and thrown into jail. So was it God? God’s leading does not always lead to you physical comfort and a fat salary. So the answer is “Yes”. Sometimes the ways of God are not “logical” our minds. God uses ordinary folk.
Acts 29:30 Philip in Samaria – people saved and healed .Philip was successful there and then the Spirit of god asked him to go to Gaza.
Acts 13:2.choosing the leaders. The Holy Spirit set apart Paul and Barnabas.

2) To stand against every demonic harassment. Paul ( Acts 13:6) met people like this. Empowered by the Holy Spirit you will have courage to do what God wants us to do.

3) Trust God no matter what . Acts 16:25 they were beaten and put in jail. But they praised God. They walked in the Holy Spirit and they saw a release. In difficult times find out what God wants of you.

4) Gal 5:16 Walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Even when we are counseling people we need the Holy Spirit to illuminate us and give us wisdom.


How do we develop this? Keep asking for more of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Focus on knowing and hearing the voice of God. Fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and give quality time to this relationship.

( Song " Let it rain",  at the end of this message was written and composed by Simon Brading and Kate Simmonds. )

       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 ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.

    English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Beautiful Giving Part 3 | Colin DCruz

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 10th Of November 2013. 
 Every year we have a Gift Day when we bring an Offering to help fund all we do in this nation and Regions Beyond. 
Would Jesus call you a fool? Who does he call fool?
 This is the concluding  part  of the series on Beautiful Giving.
Read and listen to this  message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE


As pastors we pray for a lot of people for a lot of things. We pray for the sick, those in trouble, for a job etc. But I have never had someone come with this problem “See my house, my 10 bedroom house, my business is doing so well that I want to stack all my money from the floor to the ceiling as I don’t trust the bank. I have a problem, I have so much money that I don’t know what to do. Think I’ll make a 20 room house to store this money”. Have you prayed for someone like this?

In Luke 12:16  Jesus tells us of a man who had this kind of a problem.
 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
   18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
   20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
   21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

2000 years on nothing has changed. People still fight over property. Then Jesus says
“Watch out!!” –  When Jesus says this , it’s a warning. There are huge warning signs on the overhead cables of the trains. Do you every fool around with it or try to test if its true? We have all heard this warning at some point in our lives. Now when Jesus says “watch out”, we’d better watch out.
In the context of money and possessions he tells us to watch out against all kinds of greed The whole world is telling us to get as much as we can. TV, Advertisements promote it. Jesus warns us that this message is wrong – that if you improve your lifestyle you are improving your living.

v.15-  Jesus challenges the thinking of the time and goes against the grain of the culture. (He still does that) by making a startling statement: “A Man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”
v19 – this is a key verse. This is the dream of most people today. Take life easy: eat drink and be merry. Jesus says watch out! That’s the wrong thing to be living for. When we think like this Jesus says “You fool!” WE are foolish when we make our possessions our life.
v 16. – Jesus goes on to tell a parable. The man in the story is not a crook; he has not acquired his wealth through illegal means. This was honest gain from hard work– just like many of us he was a respectable member of society. His hard work was paying off.
V18.- However his abundance was causing a problem for him. The thought however did not occur to him that he could use his abundant wealth to bless others, to help the poor in own family or community, to pay his workers well, to give something to the synagogue where he worshipedHe was only thinking about himself.
V19. He gets an idea – to build bigger barns i.e hoarding for himself. He was selfish. This is the tragedy of wealth today.  We may think I am working hard, I have a good brain, I will keep it to myself. You may think because of your hard work you deserve it. I
V19b- this man worked hard for his wealth and could say “I worked hard for it therefore I deserve to enjoy it”. How much is enough?
Eccel5:10 - Whoever loves money never has enough...
Think about your life 10 years ago, what you had and what you have today. Are you not blessed? You will never be satisfied with wealth and possessions because you will always want something more. The guy with the bicycle envies the guys with the scoter, the scooter guys envies the guy in the car, the guy in the  nano car wants a the Ford, the Ford guy wants the SUV, the SUV guy wants the Mercedes !!. We always want the next thing. Things are not wrong in themselves but if your happiness is contingent on it , it’s a problem.  It’s like drinking salty water on a hot summers day.
Some hoard gold, some invest in stocks, others homes. God is not against saving. It‘s our attitude towards money he is interested in and how we use it. Our happiness is not determined by our possessions.
“I’ll be happy when......( you fill in the blanks) If you are thinking in this way ,”watch out”!
So what did this man do?
V18. - He thought to himself.. Four times he says “I” and three times he says “my” in one sentence. He had no thought for anyone else. He does not even mention his family. Watch how he speaks to himself. ( we need to watch how we speak to ourselves). In the eyes of the world he appears to be very successful and people would envy his problem. But what was Jesus evaluation of him and of us if we are like him?
V20. - “you fool”!!!  That’s a strong thing coming from Jesus!!James 4:13-14 what is your life? We need to submit our wealth to the Lord and ask him what He would have us do. It is a terrible thing to be called a fool by Jesus.

Jesus is not against saving and wealth – but what are you doing with it?  What you do with it determines whether you are a fool or not. Have you been rich toward God? What will we hold up before God when we meet home face to face?  Will it be our homes, new phone, gold, stocks, and fancy car? Or things we have invested in for the Kingdom of God?
Lev 27:30 – Giving our tithes is only the basic. It belongs to God anyway so you are not doing anything special. It’s like you are expected to pay your bill at a restaurant. You are not doing anything special and the owner will not specially thank you for doing so. When you give more than your tithe that’s when the giving starts.
Luke 11:12 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Are you rich toward God?  Are we being generous when opportunity arises like this GIFT DAY ?Are we bring generous toward one another? Are we blessing the poor? Use the blessings God has given you. Where can you store where moth don’t destroy? When we give to the kingdom we give toward eternity.
As a church disciple making, reaching the lost and advancing the kingdom is our focus. That is why we invest in IDT our training program; we are exploring planting into Bangalore, helping the poor , supporting other church plants in our nation and beyond.. All this requires money. You may say I am not rich. Give your 5 loaves and 2 fish. Maybe you are rich. Store your treasure in heaven. We have phenomenal sacrificial giving in our midst. Here is an opportunity to store up treasure in heaven. At the Hub we saw that we are reaching out to so many nations, in our own nation there are so many people groups that need to reached.
May the Holy Spirit touch your heart as you consider giving toward our Gift Day. For each one it will be different. God wants sacrificial generous cheerful giving. Sow generously with the expectation to reap a harvest of righteousness, being made rich in every way.
Luke 12: 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


If you want to participate with us and give toward our Gift Day, please email us and we will give you details of how you can partner with us. wogchurch@gmail.com

(Song at the end of the sermon audio, "An Offering of Worship " written by Navaz D Cruz)


       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 ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.

    English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!