Sunday, January 26, 2014

It is Time to Let Go! - Phil 3:13

It is Time to Let Go!
January 26, 2014
Phil 3:13

  • The story is told about the baptism of King Aengus of Munster in Ireland, around 445 ad.
  • Sometime during the rite, St. Patrick leaned on his sharp-pointed staff and inadvertently stabbed the king's foot.
  • After the baptism was over, St. Patrick looked down at all the blood, realized what he had done, and begged the king's forgiveness.
  • Why did you suffer this pain in silence, the Saint wanted to know. The king replied, 'I thought it was part of the ritual.'"
  • Many of us have experienced pain
  • That pain may come from hurts, betrayals, offences and painful experiences
  • Why is it so hard to let these things go?
  • Why do hurts sometimes go down so deep that we can't seem to forget them?
  • And how can we move beyond this pain and leave it behind?
  • This morning we are going to examine the subject of letting go of hurts.

  • We can be hurt by many things
  • Like king Aengus, the hurt may be a physical pain, a cut, a broken bone, a torn ligament. Our physical bodies will heal and the pain will lessen and be gone
  • It is the pain we experience in our emotions, that is so tough to leave behind.
  • The hurt is there because someone close to us damaged us in some way
  • Sometimes the hurt is intentional, while other times it may be due to misunderstanding
  • Something may be said thoughtlessly, and cause pain.
  • Other times the thing that was said innocently may hit a raw nerve, and we experience pain, not because of the word that was said, but because of an earlier hurt which had not yet been resolved.
  • There are many ways in which we can be hurt
  • James 3:2 – it is so easy to offend. We all do it.

  • Part of the reason why it is hard to let go of hurts, is that this is not the only time we have been hurt.
  • If hurts are not dealt with appropriately as we go through life, the pan accumulates.
  • Until finally we can't take it any more and we explode in anger, at either the actual source of the pain, someone else who hurt us in the past, or an innocent bystander who has nothing to do with it!
  • Past hurts lead us to put up defenses, to prevent us being hurt again.
  • Prov 18:19
  • We may withdraw from people, we may change our personality and become abrasive or angry, we avoid certain people, we attack them by gossiping about them. There are so many kinds of defenses.
  • But they all revolve around protecting our self. It is us who has been hurt and we will not allow that to happen again.

  • It is good to look at how God would want us to react.
  • Often in the heat of the moment we do not think like that, but now, after some time has passed, we can look at the better way to deal with it
  • Jesus set us an example
  • Isa 53:3-7
  • Jesus experienced rejection, humiliation, mocking, gossip, false accusations, all kinds of things that cause deep wounds in our soul
  • Yet he did not respond in kind, he did not lash out, or get even, even in his inner thoughts
  • Instead, he said “Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34)
  • He looked at the bigger picture. His suffering in this life was to pave the way for forgiveness for any who turn to him
  • By the pain of his stripes, we receive healing
  • Healing of our emotions is possible and it is offered to us as a part of Jesus' sacrifice for us.
  • Looking at the bigger perspective, allows us to forgive the person who has hurt us, from the heart
  • Matt 18:35
  • We do this because we see that we too need that forgiveness, so we extend forgiveness to the other
  • Then the way is clear for Jesus to bring healing in our soul
  • He removes the pain from the memory and enables us to move on


  • We have a choice.
  • We can hang onto the hurts of the past, because they give us a sense of power over the other individual
  • Or we can forgive that person, totally, and then ask Jesus to heal the pain we have been suffering
  • It is time to let go of past hurts
  • The past has held us back
  • It is time now, to let go of that hurt that held us back, and be released to move forward into the future God intends for us

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gone Fishing! - Luke 5:1-11

Gone Fishing!
January 19, 2014
Luke 5:1-11


  • A pastor visits Safeway and goes to the fish counter.  He sees five big trout, and makes a request of the helpful person behind the counter
  • "Could you please get me those five trout, and then throw them to me, one at a time?"
  • The assistant throws them to the pastor, who catches four of the slippery monsters, but one slithered out of his grasp and onto the floor.
  • The pastor explains, "Now I can say I caught five large fish, but the biggest one got away!"
  • How many here are fishermen?
  • If you go fishing there are some things I have learned
  • You need to sneak up on the fish, don't just stand on the shore, obvious
  • You need to choose the right bait for the situation and the fish you are targeting
  • You need to go where the fish are - you can use the finest fishing rig, most attractive bait, and copy the methods used by the greatest fishermen in the world, but if there are no fish there, you won't catch a thing!
  • There are many lessons to be learned from fishing
  • Our son Matt likes to fish
  • Fishing is his life!
  • Work is merely something you have to do in order to be paid, so that you can go out and fish!
  • Today we are going to talk about fishing!
  • Luke 5:1-11
  • These disciples were to become fishers of men
  • This is the main point of the story
  • They were fishers of fish, but their focus is now changed, fishing for men is now their assignment
  • Matt 13:47
  • The kingdom is here described as a net which draws in all kinds of fish, good and bad
  • The fish represent people, the good ones are those who have chosen for a relationship with Jesus (the righteous), and the bad ones are those who reject this relationship
  • The bad ones go to a place of fiery torment, in other words, hell
  • We have been called to become fishers of men, so that people will be drawn into relationship with Jesus, and to give them the chance to make the most important choice of their lives
  • How do you fish for people?
  • If you want to catch a fish, you must first gain its trust
  • It must feel at home, unthreatened, if it is to be drawn to the little fly you are offering
  • It is the same with people
  • People don't necessarily take kindly to someone coming up to their front door and being asked if they know Jesus
  • What it takes, is a building of relationship
  • Last November we participated in the "My Hope For America" outreach
  • Dianne and I went door to door inviting people to come watch the video with us
  • But it did not work.  The reason was, we did not yet have relationship with these people
  • If we desire to have credibility with people, so that we can offer them the best choice they can ever make, we need to first build relationship with them
  • Matt 5:14
  • We are to be lights in this world
  • That light will only be seen in the way we relate to them, and among ourselves
  • They have to see us!
  • John 13:35
  • There is a lot of love in this room!
  • This church is a family, and it is obvious that we love and care for each other
  • But we cannot be loving in church, and then on Monday be unloving to those around us
  • Love comes from Jesus dwelling in us
  • Gal 5:22
  • Love is the main fruit of the Spirit
  • This is because God is love
  • If Jesus dwells in us, love will become the central part of our character
  • That love is not switched on or off depending on who we are with
  • Love is constant, because that is our new identity
  • This love will be seen and is a marker for people who will recognize Jesus in us
  • When we love people, we will seek to help fill their needs
  • In the early hours of Friday I went down to the river and saw the homeless camp, and it broke my heart
  • I want to help these people as much as I am able
  • This is one reason why we support Crossroads Ministries as we do
  • We love people by being trustworthy friends
  • There are plenty of friends who end up dropping us when the going gets rough
  • But we are to be true friends, not only to people who we know at church, but also in the community
  • Prov 18:24
  • The world is hungry for love
  • Peter encourages us to always be ready to give an answer about the hope that is in us
  • 1 Pet 3:15
  • We have hope
  • That hope is that there is more to this life than what we experience today
  • We have a hope and a future, which culminates in eternal life
  • That life only comes through Jesus
  • There is no other way
  • So if someone asks us about why we are so positive in the face of the struggles of day to day living, we can explain that it comes through our relationship with Jesus
  • Think about how to respond to them
  • We don't need to give them chapter and verse every time, they are more interested in what makes us tick
  • How would you present it?
  • Our personal testimony is our most effective evangelism tool
  • John 1:43-51
  • Philip calls Nathanael and invites him to come and see, to come and meet Jesus
  • He invites him to come 
  • There is something powerful about the word invitation
  • People like to be invited
  • Verse 35-42
  • Andrew finds Simon Peter and invites him to come see Jesus
  • Once again there is the invitation, he brings his brother to meet Jesus
  • The key is invitation
  • Don't push or badger people 
  • Don't present hurdles that they have to cross before they would be allowed to come to church
  • For example, if someone is a smoker, that should not be made into a barrier they have to cross, before they are allowed to come to church
  • It is in church, and a developing relationship with Jesus, that they will receive the power to conquer sin
  • In the same way, someone with a homosexual orientation should be welcomed to church, and loved
  • It is in their relationship with Jesus that they can find healing for the hurt and pain that so often led them into this lifestyle
  • Love people into the kingdom
  • Remember that we have not been called for ourselves
  • This morning Glenn Burris, our Foursquare president who will be visiting here in April, this morning posted on Facebook - "Not for ourselves alone, are we born"
  • We have been called, not for ourselves, but to be sharers of the love of God, in a hurting community
  • We have been called to be fishers of men

Saturday, January 18, 2014

News From Grace Fellowship!

January 20, 2014

Thank you for being connected with Grace Fellowship, whether as a member, attender or as a supporter! We are grateful for your support during the last year, and look forward to great things for this brand new 2014!

During the past year we are thankful to God for blessing us in many areas! Some of the things we are grateful for are:
  • During 2013, 17 people have been baptized in water! This represents 17 people who have committed their lives to Jesus, and the angels rejoice in heaven when even just one person repents and is saved (Luke 15:7).
  • Nine people were filled with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues!
  • We continue to have good attendance of between 20 and 30 each week at the Friday morning Crossroads Bible study. Currently we are working our way through Paul's first recorded letter to the Corinthian church, and examining the richness of its relevance to us today, as well as understanding more about the early church.
  • Men's camp this year was attended by a record number of men from our fellowship!
  • A number of our youngsters had encounters with Jesus and the Holy Spirit at tween camp, along with all kinds of exciting fun activities. Summer camp is an awesome time when our kids relate with other Christian kids, make healthy connections, and cement their relationship with Jesus!
  • We had a church camp-out during the summer, and it was a blast! It was so much fun to relax together, enjoy each other's company, and just have a good time! A highlight for us personally was the potluck meal and the singalong afterwards!
  • Our church parking lot sale this summer did well again! While this is a way of raising money for special projects, it is also a way for us to interact with our community.
  • Our sound system was upgraded this year, we have a new soundboard and additional loudspeakers! This has made a marked improvement in the quality of our audio system – no more unexpected pops and bangs! Many thanks to all who worked to make this possible.
  • Teen Challenge staged a prayer ministry training during last Fall, where many in our community came to receive training and anointing for prayer ministry. It was encouraging to see so many desiring to serve in this vital area of church life! A number from our church attended and are using their training, in ministry at Grace. Our prayer team is a developing ministry, please pray for the Lord's guidance in this.
  • Our church continues to support Crossroads Ministries as they reach out to the homeless and needy of our community. They are a blessing to Susanville. We are also involved in Teen Challenge bringing healing from addiction through Jesus' intervention.
  • Grace Fellowship participated in the nation-wide Billy Graham “My Hope For America” outreach. While direct results were not immediately evident, seed was sown and we intend to build on this experience during 2014.
  • This year we have supported missions in Japan and Haiti, disaster relief after the Oklahoma Tornado disaster and the Philippine Typhoon disaster, World Vision, as well as ongoing support for Foursquare Missions International.
  • During the last year attendance has remained steady in the upper 30's, and church operating income is actually 10% higher than last year! Thank you to all who have contributed to this!
  • We have plans for the coming 12 months, to plant more seed in our community, and that the Lord will draw people to Him. More information about this will be given at the church business meeting on February 9.
  • This month (January) we started a monthly healing service, on the second Sunday at 6 pm. The Lord was gracious in giving words of knowledge and in already healing one person of her frozen shoulder. There have also been other healings during the year, including a healing from fibromyalgia, and pastor Dianne's healing from hydrocephalus! God is good!

We are grateful for all of you, for your love and faithfulness! This is a wonderful church, a family, and this is evident each week as we meet together. We also love this city, and each individual in it, and we pray for God's grace to be poured out, that many hurting people will find healing through a vibrant relationship with Jesus!

Prayer requests:
  • Please continue praying for Kingdom growth and that many in our community would be led to accept Jesus into their life and allow Him to bring healing in their areas of pain and hurt.
  • We thank God for His provision for our church, through our faithful members and supporters.
  • We are grateful to Lynn for her faithfulness in standing in by leading worship. However, her main gifting is as a prayer warrior and church servant, and we are asking the Lord to call a worship leader to our church.
  • Finally, please pray for the youth of our city, that they would be drawn to Jesus!

Thank you for your faithfulness, and we pray for God's blessing over you and your family during the coming year. Know that we love you.

In Christian love,

Pastors Gerry and Dianne

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blind Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46-52 - Healing Service

Blind Bartimaeus - Healing Service
January 12, 2014
Mark 10:46-52

- Mark 10:46-52

- What is the mountain that you are facing?
- Is it an illness of some kind
- Is it an emotional issue
. Is it some kind of bondage
- Whatever our issue, God is bigger and greater
- He can intervene and change the situation
- No matter how impossible it may seem, God is able to turn it around
- God is able to make molehills out of mountains
- Zech 4:6-7
- He is able to take our past experiences and remove the pain from our memories
- Our God is able to do anything
- Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside begging
- He was trying to get travellers to have mercy on him and give him some alms
- He hears it is Jesus and shouts to him for mercy

- People told him to be quiet
- People thought he was being rude
-  He persisted because the son of Timothy knew what he needed
- He wanted to be healed
- He wanted to be able to see
- Jesus asked him what he wanted, and Bartimaeus told him
- Bartimaeus had active faith
- He was not feeling sorry for himself
- He was going for it with everything in his being
- He threw off his cloak, jumped to his feet and came to Jesus

- His faith healed him
- It was not because of his need
- It was not because of his poverty or disability
- It was because of his faith that he was healed
- His faith was not some kind of positive thinking
- It was not based on hoping that maybe God would have mercy
- No, he had heard Jesus reputation and he wanted Jesus to do for him what he had done for others
- Faith was knowing that if Jesus heals one person, he would heal him too
- Because God does not play favorites - Acts 10:34, Rom 2:11, Eph 6:9, Col 3:25
- God does not lie - Num 23:19, Titus 1:2
- God is not fickle - Mal 3:6, Heb 13:6
- Jesus healed all who came to him - Mat 8:14-17

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Finding Stability - 1 John 3:1-2 - Crossroads

Finding stability - Crossroads
November 3, 2011
1 John 3:1-2

- Have you ever watched a new building being built?
- It is like watching water come to the boil, it takes forever
- Some time ago there was a fire on Richmond Road
- I drive by there every day and once they started digging the foundations, I thought, great, it wont be long now
- But it seemed to take ages
- Once the foundations were complete, the rest of the building was built fairly quickly
- The foundations are important.
- The bigger the building, the deeper the foundations have to go
- You don' want to build a 20-story building on an inadequate foundation
- The building will lean over and eventually collapse
- The foundation we have is very relevant to the stabilty we experience
- This is true of buildings. It is also true of people.

- Our lives are like a building
- We start off as kids, small, weak, vulnerable and insignificant
- Our childhood years are formative years for us
- These years provide the foundation upon which the rest of our life is built
- Many of us probably had less than perfect parents
- The experiences of our growing-up years impact our adult life
- If I grew up in a stable family, where dad loved mom, where there is love and appreciation, where our needs are met and we experience the protection of a dad who cares, we will probably grow up to have a stable life
- But if our parents divorced during our formative years, that shakes our foundations
- If one who is supposed to be our protector betrays us, our foundation is shaken
- If we have to fend for ourselves, because we don't have parents who care for us, this is another cause for a shaken foundation.
- When we have a shaky foundation, it is hard for us to live a life of stability
- It is hard for someone who experienced shaky origins, to be stable as an adult
- So what can we do about this?

- When we accept Jesus into our life, we suddenly have a fresh start
- Rom 6:3-4 The waters of baptism symbolize the fresh start that we have, our sins have been washed away
- Something profound happens when we accept Jesus
- That is that we are now children of God
- 1 John 3:1-2 We are now children of God
- This means that we now have a new family
- We have a fresh start, with a new family
- God is our Father
- Psa 68:5 Father of the Fatherless
- If you did not have a dad while growing up, God will fill that need.
 - He will provide the care and love that you needed while you were growing up
- God will never betray you
- James 1:13 – God tempts no man
- He will never try to trip you up
- Whatever he does and allows in our life is for our good
- Rom 8:28 All things work out for our good
- 2 Cor 9:8 – God is able to take care of our needs
- God is faithful
- God is not fickle
- Our parents messed up and promised things they did not deliver
 - But God is always faithful
- 1 Cor 10:13

- When we accept Jesus We have a fresh beginning.
 - If we treat this seriously, and really turn to him as our Father, and ask him to be the father we never had, he will do so
- Dianne was having a CAT scan last week and was claustrophobic, and prayed asking God to hold her hand.
- Suddenly she felt someone hold her hand, and she fell asleep, totally at peace
- God will be the dad you always wanted, if you ask him in faith


Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's behind the door? - Rev 3:8

What's behind the door?
January 5, 2014
Rev 3:8

  • What is the purpose of a door?
  • Some might say, a door is to close things off
  • Others might say a door is to hide things you don't want others to see
  • Others may say a door represents an opportunity
  • Today we are going to consider what is behind the door
  • The door we are looking at, is the door of the future
  • Often when I am speaking with people, they wonder about what God has in store for them
  • They may have asked him but are not sure if what they heard is from God or not
  • Can easily go wrong and make wrong choices
  • God speaks to us in different ways
  • Through the Word, in our thoughts, through other people, through circumstances
  • Today we will examine how we can know when it is God speaking, or alternatively when it may be our own thoughts, or the enemy

  • James 1:22
  • God tells us that along with hearing God's voice, there is accountability - we have to be obedient and do what he says
  • God will not speak to us unless we are obedient to what he tells us
  • When we are disobedient, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30)

  • 1 John 4:1 - test what you hear - you don't want to believe lies
  • a) It must be according to God's word
  • Isa 8:20 - the word is the test
  • b) It should draw us closer to Christ
  • Phil 2:5 - Let this mind be in you which was in Jesus
  • c) It will fit our mix of spiritual gifts, personal talents and personality
  • Eph 2:10 - God has a plan and purpose for us
  • Num 23:19 - God does not lie
  • d) Is the word convicting or condemning?
  • God may chastise us verbally
  • Hebrews 12:10-11 God chastens
  • Romans 8:1 – But God does not condemn
  • He may convict us of some area of life in which we need to change
  • e) Do other believers confirm it?
  • Proverbs 19:20, 24:6 - get advice
  • We need help when we are in new territory
  • Ask for directions!
  • f) Does the word agree with previous words the Lord has given us?
  • Mal 3:6 – God does not change his plan for you
  • g) We will have a sense of peace
  • 1 Cor 14:33
  • Confusion is not of God
  • If the word is confusing to us, God did not give it to us
  • John 14:27 - my peace I give to you

  • John 10:4 – his sheep know his voice
  • God wants us to be walking in sync with his will
  • So he will let us know what his will is for our life
  • It may not be specific but we can have a general idea
  • God is speaking to his sheep.
  • Are we listening for his voice?
  • Are we prepared to be obedient?
  • Test the word and then act on it