Time of Increase – Part 5

What turns charcoal or carbon into diamonds?    Pressure and Heat!

Something worthless becomes valuable. That’s our story when we discover a Spirit led life with God’s Son, Jesus. No more and no less.

In the Body of Christ, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.

In Christ, our hearts are being renewed so we begin to see and understand God has always had a plan for our life.

Our hearts become a “Spirit filled” controlled environment that determines how we now respond to a Godly life and see God’s “Increase” or blessings.

When our hearts are right, we begin to see God in people, places and situations never noticed before. We find peace despite our circumstances – and a hope and strength that is not our own –  as we discover the joy of lovingly obeying our new-found master. Gladly our life is no longer our own!

I am talking about the Increase in the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit as we die to our old ways.  Are you at that place yet/still?

It means responsibility and accountability, not just to our inner thoughts and words , but everything outwardly expressed to one another.

We now live by God’s standards, becoming accountable to one another.
That’s real Church and one that is about Increase.                Steve.  J

Time of Increase – Part 3

Log splitting

Volunteers splitting logs as part of the parish firewood programme

 

Let’s keep the responses coming!

As I figure it, with increase comes accountability, responsibility and respect.

Growth involves movement and change into new environments.

A few years back  we have had a Parish Survey (yes!), Prayer weeks seeking out what God was doing in our community, conducted a Stewardship programme, gave vestry members portfolio ministries and developed various programmes both within the Parish life – such as the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Kidz Klub – and community-facing (Community Garden, TC) to name a few.
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Recently we have invested in setting up the Wairarapa Community Initiative (WCI) for seeking outside funding to further the work of God’s Kingdom.

Has the Parish grown numerically and financially?  On the face of it, no.

Do you believe there is a greater potential to increase today as there was before? I believe Yes! because God reminded me that He is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills and promises to bless those who love and obey Him.  We are arriving at that place.  We are becoming more authentic and transparent,  We plant, we water and God does the rest.

What must we do next?

Your thoughts, please.

Steve

Time of Increase: Part 2

Children grouped round table.

 

 

We finished last week with the question;

Do we – as a Parish – demonstrate a life of increase?

I believe we are, and in several vital areas that I have been observing over the last few years.

Logo from Conciliation Service

Through the Conciliation/Celebration Service, in September 2009, we acknowledged to ourselves – and to the Masterton Community – that we have a chequered history that had split the church several times.

 

 

Men practise their items at the rehearsal prior to the Conciliation Service, 2009

The blokes practise their items at the rehearsal prior to the Conciliation Service, 2009

We confessed outwardly. As a result, congregationally we are beginning to respect and trust each other and work more together. Some relationships began to heal; others discovered there are great people in the other congregations. Slowly as a Parish we are discovering a strength that comes in our diversity, as we agree to disagree and work more together – unity is possible in our disunity.

Congregation sharing the Peace at St Alban's, Tauweru

Congregation share the Peace at St Alban’s, Tauweru

But forgiveness and rebuilding trust takes time, yet it gives birth to new life and hope. It’s a work in progress – that’s Increase in action.

Catechesisreceivescommunion

Children of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd receive communion

Let us be encouraged by Jesus words to His disciples who often discussed who were the most important among themselves.

 “By this the world will know, that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

Secondly; do you notice the makeup of the congregations is changing? There is a greater diversity. More representative of the demographics of the society we live in……not just old people…..not just middle/upper class people….not just successful wealthy people?

That’s Increase. And there is more to come, even greater things, as we continue to grow in tolerance and kindness and put others a little higher than ourselves.

What do you think?

Steve

Time of Increase: Part 1

Baby's hand

Any individual, nation (or Parish)  begins with birth, then growth, but eventually is followed by decay and death. It can be argued that history repeats itself. “Church” can be the same.

 

Casket at funeral

 

But let us be reminded from the Bible (Romans 5 and 6 in particular) the hope in Christ,  because this cycle is broken. The Message version puts it like this:

Here it is in a nutshell: just as one person did it wrong and got us all in this trouble with sin and death (Adam), another did it right (Jesus) and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, He got us into life eternal! (Rom.5:18)

That’s Good News for all.

 

41-IMG_5908

One of the problems a Church faces is not giving those outside the Church a clear picture of what happens inside.

They don’t understand that we’re there to praise our Saviour for providing “Redemption through His Blood, and the forgiveness of sins.”

Yes, sinners go to Church, but receiving God’s Gift of grace lets us live for ever.

So here is my foundation:  to say that we are in a Time of Increase.

 

Children running at back of church

 

We are not a perfect Parish but we don’t have to die, cease to exist. Rather, acknowledging our condition and knowing God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were all still sinners, He died for us in Jesus, and we are now partakers of everlasting life in Him. We therefore have this Good News to share and invite others to join us.

The question is; do we demonstrate this life of increase?

Steve

Vicar’s Call for 2013 – Increase

Moses with the Ten Commandments

Moses with the Ten Commandments

When we read the story of Moses, we find that he often made decisions on behalf of the People of Israel, because God spoke directly to him in the Tent of the Tabernacle.

In the current world of growing individualism, Mosaic type leadership is not popular. Yet I believe there is still a place for it in the theocracy of the church.

Jesus himself was very forthright in “leading the way,” and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church after Pentecost is very much about releasing the prophetic leadership ministry, but to more than just one leader as in the Old Testament time of Moses.

We need to hear this prophetic ministry of encouragement more than ever, as we seek to build the Kingdom of God in a sceptical world of unbelief.

As your Vicar I am called to lead the Parish, first and foremost. to extend the Kingdom of God – to share the God news that everyone can have life in its fullness. That is, trusting in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and giving over our lives to his lordship.

I believe we are in a time of “Increase,” individually and as a Parish; spiritually, physically and numerically.

It’s a big call and I lay a challenge to some in the Parish to confirm this, through their prophetic gift of leadership.

Over the next few weeks I will use this space to expound various thoughts on this call of “Increase” and invite you to respond directly and or by making a comment on this blog.

Steve.