Tonight is part of history's great 3 days (Maundy Thursday Good Friday, Easter) where the axis of the universe shifts away from bondage to freedom, from despair to hope and from death to life. That shift is a war that is fought on many fronts, for many reasons and with varying degrees of intensity. Many of us fight that war in our lives. We engage in that battle every day - emotionally, mentally, We have been worn down, wounded and even overcome by it. Maybe you are in the midst of a battle right now - Jesus comes to intenionally wage unconventional warfare against the enemy of the heart - sin, death and the devil - for you. He's not surprised by the battle. He embraces the battle and this night gives you a promise to sustain you and strengthen you for every battle you will face.
Tonight, he unveils the battle plan again, an unconventional plan of self-giving love for the whole world, for you, that guarantees and secures your victory eternally.
“There is no neutral ground in the universe. All of it is claimed by God & counter-claimed by Satan.” CS Lewis rightly understood our very existence in under persistent threat…not from food shortages, inflation, nuclear WW3, climate change or the latest COVID-scare…but from our ancient relentless pervasive enemies: death, the devil, sin & the intrusion of the world around us that insists its way is better than the Father’s. It's against these enemies that Jesus comes to wage Unconventional Warfare. It's a battle plan that has been a long time in the making. An intentional plan that fights, not with the weapons of the world that leave behind collateral damage & multiply misery, but with a humility that sees, weeps and suffers for the brokenness of this world to secure all people a victory over every enemy that seek to destroy our life, joy and freedom. We'll walk with Jesus today as he enacts God's intentional but Unconventional Warfare plan - a plan of humility.
#1 in Holy Week Series: "Unconventional Warfare'
Sermon written by Pastor Mark Schultz
It's no locker room pep-talk or motivational speech before a club membership drive. He’s not rallying the troops before sending them into battle. It's an honest straightforward & genuine call…a real invitation to move from being spectators on the sidelines to workers on the frontline of God's harvest in his mission to all nations.
This is no solo effort, but the communal & relational activity of his body who are called, commissioned, and sent into a world where people are living and dying outside the presence of Jesus, but who were created for life with him forever. It's often hard work and requires of us trust, obedience, vulnerability, and the determination to bring the peace and presence of Jesus into every circumstance of our lives. It's a call also to see ourselves as God’s answer to the very prayers we pray for harvests to go and be agents of his kingdom. When you say “yes” to this invitation…lives are changed forever…most certainly yours. So how will you RSVP? We'll explore that today fully aware "…the Kingdom of God is near!"
#6 in series: RSVP - responding to God's Invitation
It's something every Maths student has heard on more than one occasion. "Show me your working out!" How you reach and then apply the answer is crucial. Do you “get” the process? Can you see your mistakes? Are you building on what you already know? Many of us have learnt since Sunday School that the answer to any question about faith is Jesus. If you guess Jesus, you can't go wrong. But today Jesus asks "Who do you say that I am?" and he’s not interested in tentative hopeful guesses at an answer, or the shoot-from-the-hip answer we think he wants to hear. Jesus invites us to show him the working out of our answer in the context of our lives - in our relationships, in our work, in our finances, in our attitudes and values, our worship and our calendar...in everything... everyday. It's a personal question that will require much of us. But this invitation to surrender everything to living with Jesus will change our lives. When you say "yes" to this invitation, he will redeem the past, provide confidence in the present and a bold certainty of the finished outcome of our lives. We'll explore that today because "who do you say that I am?" is the most important question you will ever answer because your life depends on it.
# 5 in series: "RSVP: Responding to God's Invitation'
More heavy rain, floods, heatwave storms predicted across Australia as wild weather continues…Sydney weather: storms & torrential rains lash NSW as humidity soars to 90%...Showers & storms return to east coast…If there is a universal experience it is “storms.” We all have them hit more often than we’d like. Not just the atmospheric kind either…Life is punctuated by storms, like commas in a sentence… Storms of change & transformation. Storms of suffering & grief. Storms of failure & confusion. Storms of depression & uncertainty. Storms in the economy or on the international horizon. Storms can blow us off course, beat against and drench our faith. Many storms feel like they’re about to sink us and pull us under for the last time. Jesus reveals the real storm is not the circumstances against which we struggle, but the storm that churns within us. And in the midst of that storm, in the midst of life, in the midst of our fears, he issues us an invitation to peace. When you say “yes” to this invitation, you find Jesus with you in the storm…with you in the blown-about moment…with you always. His presence is able to conquer the worst of the storms…the ones within. We'll discover that today.
#4 in series: RSVP: Responding to God's Invitation
"I can't do that or I could never do that"
Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking one of those statements? That what is being asked is an impossible action. Too difficult? Too much of stretch? Too bold? Or maybe this sounds more familiar, "You can't do that? That you find yourself in a situation when people use rules to stifle boldness, to put limits around what you can do, how far and where you can go. Today Jesus invites us to move from the periphery to the centre of lifewhere there is healing and restoration that transforms every part of our lives. Jesus invites you today to boldness, to do what other's won't and to act when other's don't. It's an open invitation that is just waiting for your RSVP.
#3 in sereis: RSVP: Responding to God's Invitation
You have heard all the inspirational sayings. "A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step." Or "The only impossible journey is the one you never take" or "Life is a journey, not a destination." Or "Life's a journey. When we stop things don't go right."
So what inspires your journey in life? Where are you journeying too? Or have you lost the motivation to go anywhere? Are you comfortable where you are? Today Jesus invites you to embark on a journey with him. "Follow me" he says. It's an invitation that is both costly and challenging, full of grace and opportunity, that will require more of you than you want to give but will transform your life in ways you can never imagine. The open invitation to journey is before you. It's just waiting for you to respond. So over to you. How will you RSVP to Jesus' invitation to journey?
#2 in series: 'RSVP - Responding to God's Invitation'
There’s something exciting about receiving a personal invitation. They invite us into new places and new experiences that change, shape, challenge and delight us. This Lent, Jesus issues you again with an open invitation to join him on a journey of discovery and discipleship’ to meet him, walk with him, and experience his presence with us. It’s an invitation that will take us to challenging places, where our hearts are changed and lives shaped as we are given power and authority to invite others to join us on the journey. The invitation is open... and as we begin this Lenten season, God invites us into righteousness.
Ash Wednesday Service
Businesses establish them, constitutions contain them, negotiators use them, organisations grant them, boards enforce them and States have reasserted them! Limits of authority. It's all about clarity. Its purpose is transparency. Limits of authority policies detail the parameters or the extent to which a person or group can make decisions, transact business, authorise payments, sign off on contracts or commit an organisation in a given direction. It pre-supposes that every authority has limits.
It’s important to know your limits. To be fully aware of the extent of your capabilities and capacities…the scope of your abilities and aptitudes…and where they end.
IN this, the final week of our Beyond Limits Vision series, we'll explore what it looks like to live with a Kingdom authority where the power of Jesus’ Word is unlimited, the scope of his Word all-embracing and the results of his Word, life-transforming. It’s a Kingdom authority that empowers a living faith.
#4 in Vision Series: Beyond Limits