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Pastor Karen Wong How to Turn Prayerlessness into Prayerfulness Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin There are so many reasons I can think of for why we don’t pray. Reflecting on my own seasons of prayerlessness, especially in my early walk with Christ, there were a few roadblocks that prevented me from getting on the prayer track: I regarded prayer as a ritual – a task to be done. I was afraid of asking God for what I needed, or I didn’t know how to ask. I didn’t know how to pray long, with flowery and liturgical words. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of others when praying out loud. I didn’t think it would make a difference at all. I had sinned and felt distant; how could I even pray? These roadblocks were all centered on my thoughts of self, and the mechanics of prayer. Clearly, my lack of prayer was caused by a lack of knowledge of Jesus. When I realized I couldn’t live life on my own, I started to depend more on Jesus. With time, He revealed His goodness towards me, and I became more acquainted with who He really is. I saw Him provide for my needs. I felt His peace when my mind was in torment. By going to Him in prayer, just as I was, I felt His comfort when distressed. My prayerlessness then turned into candid conversations with Jesus about everything. I didn’t have to come with pompous words to entreat God as a foreign person. Rather, I could come with an open heart, knowing it is not my prayer performance that would get His ear. I can seek Him simply because HE IS and is able: He has forgiven us – 1 John 1:9 He is caring – 1 Peter 5:7 He wants to answer our prayers – John 16:23-24 He is a comforter and heals the broken hearted – 2 Corinthians 1:4 He is a good father that gives good gifts – Matthew 7:7-11 He will guard our hearts with peace – Philippians 4:6-7 He is patient and does not want anyone to perish – 2 Peter 3:9 He is for us, not against us – Romans 8:31 Hebrews 11:6 says this is the essence of faith – to know that He is, and He delights in us seeking Him: But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Many of us have made prayer too complicated, while Jesus taught us to come to Him with child-like faith. Children are unafraid to go to their parents for their every need and ask in simplicity. Likewise, God wants us to trust that we can go to Him in prayer openly and believe He loves us, and He is able. We see a picture of the Lord’s willingness and ability when we go to him in prayer as the leper did in Matthew 8:1-3: When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Such a simple request – “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. The leper did not come to Christ with a complicated prayer request. Instead, he worshiped Jesus as Lord, and focused on His ability to heal. Jesus responds according to His character and ability. He said, “I am willing” … “Be healed”. E.M. Bounds says that “the faith which creates powerful praying is the faith which centers itself on a powerful person. Faith in Christ’s ability to do and to do greatly is the faith which prays greatly.” The leper focused on Jesus’ great ability, and His willingness. The starting point to shift our prayerlessness is to know Jesus, that HE IS. Prayerlessness comes in when we regard prayer as a ritual or task. Prayerfulness enters in when we center our hearts on Jesus and getting to know Him, setting our affection upon Him. When you pray today, think much of Him. There is no long speech required, just a full heart believing He is who says He is. As you do, be ready to experience His presence, and ability to transform your life for the best. PrevPreviousThoughts on Developing Contentment ..read more
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Pastor Brian Taylor Thoughts on Developing Contentment Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin This series by Pastor Dave on “Developing Contentment” has told us, obviously, that it is an inside job and that contentment is not automatic. Being an inside job seems to put the emphasis on us, and that is where we might want to stop.  If it depends on me it just will not happen.  It is hard to be content.  But there is a lot of incentive to develop contentment, and we have help.  Paul says ‘It is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure’, in Philippians 2:13.  So let us pay attention. The Lord Jesus has already told us in Luke 12:15, ‘take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’.  Again, He said, ‘What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’ in Matthew 16:26. Paul said of this world in Acts 17:31, ‘God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world’. Paul also said in Colossians 3:2, ‘set your minds on things above not on earthly things.’, and in 2 Corinthians 4:18, ‘we fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but on what is not seen. For what is seen is temporary what is not seen is eternal. ‘, and finally in Philippians 1:3, ‘my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is “far better”’. Now there nothing wrong with having wealth and possessions. Some people having these things have been very generous to other, but it is hard to be content, and contentment is what we are talking about.  C.S. Lewis said “the people who do not have their thoughts and eyes on the invisible world are ineffective in this one”.  We are so glad for those who have wealth, who have given of it and influenced and achieved so much good throughout history and in this present world. Beware, however, there are wrong motives for wanting wealth.  In the New Testament James warns of these.  James 4:2-3, ‘You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and you cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.’ Let us ask: What for? Why do men fight to gain more? Gangs want more turf. Nations want more territory for their empires. Corporations want more profit. Why? Why spend so much effort on a world that is already appointed for judgment, a world that is passing away? There are some instructions from the apostle Paul that may seem strange and hard to understand in 1 Corinthians 7:29 – 31: ‘But this I say brethren, time is short so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as if they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.’ He is talking about some very intimate relationships, and this passage may seem difficult unless you realise that he has his eyes on the eternal world. He has his mind on what he already called ‘things far better.’ If the apostle Paul thought time was short then, what would he think now?  He would say what he has already said in 1 Timothy 6:6-7: ‘godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content’. Notice the word “content” and now we see why it must be developed.  We have an even better incentive.  That is from our Heavenly Father, in Hebrews 13:5: ‘Let your conduct be without covetousness and be content with such thing as you have.  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” ‘.  These are a few more thoughts as to why Pastor Dave was led to teach on this important subject.  Let us get to work!  And come join us for Pastor Dave’s next series on prayer PrevPreviousHow Do I Live My Best Life ..read more
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Coastal Church | Vancouver by Pastor Jessica Chen - 1M ago
Pastor Jessica Chen How Do I Live My Best Life Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin Today we see people post on social media the popular hashtag, #livingmybestlife. In fact there are 3.4 million posts on Instagram alone with this hashtag. The pictures that go along with these posts might be people posing in trendy outfits, cute kids with adorable expressions, people doing what they love, people sharing their personal accomplishments, or people being vulnerable about their stories … the list goes on. Living your best life is what we all want because we recognize we only have one life to live. That being said, the truth is we all struggle to know what this best life is and how we can live it every day. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT) How was Paul able to write these bold words? Mind you, he wrote them while he was in prison because of his faith in Jesus, to encourage God’s people in Philippi. Clearly, Paul’s best life had nothing to do with his physical circumstances or the possessions he had. His best life had everything to do with what He knew deep in his heart about his God – something intangible, something unshakeable. In 2012, I went to China for the first time through an organization called, International China Concern, to support and bring aid to the caretakers of an orphanage (aka welfare centre) for children who were abandoned and disabled. While I prayed about how I might be a blessing to them and the kids under their care, I felt I received so much more from my time with them. These kids had, what seemed to me, so little, yet they were joyful and satisfied. Many of them had been abandoned in terrible places because of their disability. However, despite their past, it was clear that God did not forget about them. In His wonderful, mysterious way, He was watching over them and taking care of them. I remember thinking to myself, wow, even when others may forget about us, God never forgets about us. With Him life can be beautiful and joyous, no matter the circumstances. Once again, Paul wrote, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Jesus Christ was God’s ultimate gift of salvation and love to the whole world. When we put our trust in Jesus, we are no longer separated from our Creator God, but we are brought close, just as we were always intended to live. Paul understood that it is through Christ that we even have access to the God of heaven and earth, and who’s heavenly resources never run dry. Paul understood who was His source of everything he needed – His Father God. So how do we live our best life? We do this by first recognizing who holds all things and is the source of everything we need. When we put our trust in Him, seeing Him as our source, our best friend, and our ultimate destination, there is a peace and joy that comes that goes beyond our circumstances. PrevPrevious5 Labels God Gives Us ..read more
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Coastal Church | Vancouver by Pastor Chris Karuhije - 1M ago
Pastor Chris Karuhije 5 Labels God Gives Us Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin “What’s in a name?”  That short question posed by Juliet Capulet to Romeo Montague in Shakespeare’s renown play Romeo and Juliet, asserts that a name is just that, a name.  It has no power over us – it’s meaningless, artificial.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  As we read through the Bible, we see how important names and labels are.  Whether its Eve (Hebrew for “living”), Abraham (“Father of Many Nations”), Samuel (“God has Heard”), Emmanuel (“God is With Us”), we see time and time again how much value God places on a name. But just because you were named and labeled as something undesirable, does not mean that it’s the end of the story, and you are doomed to live out that label.  In the Bible, we are introduced to a man whose name warranted a name change.  But instead of living up that label, he chose God’s label instead and became a success in his life. Here is what the Bible says about him in 1 Chronicles 4:9, 10: “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.” Jabez, literally pain, called upon God and asked Him to fulfill His promises of blessing.  As a result, instead of causing pain, Jabez was not only blessed but became a blessing.  Regardless of what your name is or what someone has labeled you as, it’s by receiving God’s label over anyone else’s that will bring in the result of blessing that Jabez experienced.  And although there are hundreds of promises in the Bible concerning you, here are 5 labels God confers on you that you can receive right now: Child of God.  John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  If you have received Jesus in your life, you are automatically made a child of God and have access to your inheritance in Christ.  You have a place of belonging, a Father that loves you, and an eternal home in Heaven.  With this truth, we are not childish, but childlike in our faith and humility, as Jabez did when he prayed, “bless me indeed!”  And because you are His child, God answers! Loved.  1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” When you know that you are loved unconditionally, fear is removed from your life!  One who is loved by God is protected fiercely by God and has no fear of anything.  The same way a child can rest securely in the arms of a parent, so can we rest securely in the love of God despite the challenges and obstacles of this life. Favored.  Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Did you know that God has bestowed favor upon you?  As you receive that label and speak it over your life, you receive the benefit of His favor and no good thing will He withhold from you as you walk uprightly! Blessed.  2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”  The word blessed and its variations appears over 400 times in the Bible.  God wants you to know that as He blessed Jabez, He can bless you as well as you receive His label for you. Poem.  Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  The word “workmanship” literally means a poem.  You are God’s masterpiece, His poem!  As a composer or poet crafts their masterwork, so did God compose and craft you. Don’t allow other’s labels to define who you are.  Receive His label, as Jabez did, and watch what God is able to do in your life! PrevPreviousLearning to Love Yourself ..read more
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Pastor James Fam Learning to Love Yourself Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin If you lived through the 80’s, there is a good chance that these lyrics from the tune “Greatest Love of All” (made famous by Whitney Houston’s cover) may sound familiar to you: Because the greatest love of all is happening to me,I found the greatest love of all inside of me,The greatest love of all is easy to achieve,Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all. While the song may have been a hit, the greater truth is that many people have a hard time loving themselves and learning to do so is not as “easy to achieve” as the song suggests. A Google search on “learning to love yourself” will offer multiple results from self-help authors on self-discovery, and self-improvement. While the Bible promotes self-love, it does so for the objective of loving others instead of just focusing on ourselves. When the “teachers of the law” pressed Jesus to make his top picks among the commandments, he replied that the greatest act is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, followed secondly by loving your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31) This suggest that our priority is to love God first and then loving others and loving ourselves become by-products of our first choice to develop a relationship with God the Father. If we find it difficult to love God, we may find it challenging to love ourselves, and the thought of loving others falls even further down the list. Before coming to faith in Jesus, I found it difficult to love God simply because I did not know who God is and what He was like. I used to see God as a cosmic guardian that I would attempt to avoid at all cost, in the same manner that we would avoid a traffic cop when driving on the road. However, when I started to see God as a loving Father who desires to have a relationship with me, that was the catalyst to seeing (and loving) myself the way that God sees me. [More on that in this message: When You Feel Insecure] Life Groups fulfill the scriptural mandate of loving others in our community by: serving one another (1 Pet 4:10); being devoted and giving preference to one another (Rom 12:10); accepting one another (Rom 15:7); caring for one another (1 Cor 12:25); and bearing one another’s burden (Gal 6:2). The sermon-based discussion notes in our Life Group offer opportunity to learn more about God and to experience spiritual growth by asking, “How can we apply what we have learn from God’s Word in our personal life this week?” It is when we surround ourselves with people that sees us the way that God does, that you and I might achieve an easy way in learning to love ourselves after all! PrevPreviousWhen Your Performance Is Not Enough to Be Content ..read more
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Pastor Fari Maghami When Your Performance Is Not Enough to Be Content Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin Achieving peak performance in our lives is not enough to make us content. No matter how gifted we might be, true contentment cannot be found in our performance. The world grades us and gives us value according to our performance. In contrast, the Bible says we are created by God in His image and He shows His unmerited love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Gen. 1:27; Romans 5:8). The path to contentment, peace and joy is discovered only through faith (Romans 15:13). As people of God who have received the right to become children of God by believing in Christ, we still need to remind ourselves that God is the source of our gifts. We also need to make sure that we use our gifts to do good to others as part of our calling in loving both God and our neighbour (Mark 12:30-31). “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” – (James 1:16-17) According to James if we deny the fact that God is the source of our gifts we are being deceived. Each and every one of us have been given gifts from God to serve others for His glory (1 Peter 4:10). We are to discover and use our giftings in community for the purpose of benefiting others and honoring Christ. In the same way that we bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit for others to enjoy, we also have God given gifts to benefit others and glorify God. It’s important to recognize that just solely finding out what you are gifted at is not enough to cause you to be content or fulfill your calling in life. When we look around and we will find many gifted people who understand they are gifted but are still not happy with life. Human beings are first and foremost called to turn to God in repentance and belief in Christ so that we might have a reconciled relationship with our Creator, others, self and the rest of creation (Mark 1:15; 2 Cor. 5:17-19). This is the foundation for a contented life and we cannot achieve it through our own effort, but by God’s grace and through faith in Christ. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Cor. 5:17-19 Having a reconciled relationship with God through Christ is key for human contentment; regardless of any and every great human achievement and performance, our soul cannot rest or find satisfaction until we experience God’s saving grace. Appreciate and use the gift God has given you, but avoid the following traps: 1. Trap of comparison: Comparing your gifts to others2. Trap of pride: Thinking your gifts make you better than others3. Trap of idolatry: worshipping your gift or others for their gifting The world puts pressure on us to use our gifts for self-centered reasons. To gain status, wealth and fame. The world tells us to promote our giftedness in order that we may receive praise for our accomplishments, like we are the sole source of these giftings. God calls His children to humbly recognize Him as their provider and sustainer and to serve others in order to bring honour to His name. We are created by an infinitely creative God in order that we might magnify Him by using our gifts to make Him look great. We are “…God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them…” – Eph. 2:10 Thus, true contentment comes first and foremost through a reconciled relationship with God through faith in Christ and not from our own performance or achievements. We also develop contentment as children of God by discovering our God given gifts, developing our gifts by using them to serve others in our community and continually dedicating our gifts to God for His work on earth. PrevPreviousWhen Life Doesn’t Go as Planned… ..read more
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Pastor Brad Bergman When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned… Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin Imagine you had your whole life planned out. You’ve worked hard. You’ve studied hard. You’ve won all the best scholarships and graduated at the top of your class from the most prestigious university. Your future is bright.Not only are you smart… you’re good looking too. You take good care of yourself. You’re good with people. You’re wise. You make good choices… and yet in an instant, all of it is taken away.All of your achievements no longer matter. You’re taken from your home, friends, and family. You’re forced to go back to school to be trained as a bureaucrat in the pagan Babylonian Court.Not only are you taken from the comfort of your home and country, you’re given a new name that challenges your faith and identity.This was the story for a young man named Daniel.“Daniel was immersed not only in the language of Babylon, but also in its astrology, magic, and religious practices.” – Paul Stevens“Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. The king assigned them to a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.” -Daniel 1:4-5Upon graduation, he was to serve the same government that destroyed his home, his friends, and his country.How did he survive?How did he not go crazy?Daniel recognized that even though he had experienced pain and loss, that God was still in control and he trusted God’s word in spite of his circumstances.God spoke to Daniel and the captives of Babylon through the prophet Jeremiah.This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” -Jeremiah 29:4-7God reassured Daniel that He hadn’t abandoned his people. This would have been such a comfort to this young man in a strange land. The prophet goes on to bring hope to a hopeless people. That God was still with them and He wasn’t finished with them (Jeremiah 29:11). Because of this hope, Daniel didn’t try to run away from his troubles, he maintained the work ethic and integrity he always had.Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. -Col. 3:23-24Daniel didn’t wait for conditions to be perfect to put his heart into what he did. Daniel faithfully served 6 different kings in 3 different nations. He chose to serve them all in excellence and with integrity as unto the Lord.Change is inevitable.Often change is uncomfortable and even painful. Most of us probably won’t experience the same tragedy that Daniel went through, however, the principles that held him together still hold true for us today. God’s word is true, and in the midst of changes circumstances God remains the same (Hebrews 13:8).Yesterday.Today.And forever. PrevPreviousGod Plays No Favourites ..read more
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Coastal Church | Vancouver by Pastor Karen Wong - 2M ago
Pastor Karen Wong God Plays No Favourites Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin As I listened to Michael Franzese share his story at our weekend services, I was reminded that God has no favourites (Acts 10:34). It is moving to see how the Lord took a mobster out of the kingdom of darkness, and brought him out into the kingdom of light, by the power of His grace. Had we met Michael decades ago, we would have easily deemed him as a lost cause and with no chance for redemption. Based on his track record, we would have considered Michael unqualified to receive grace, and outside the realm of salvation. Yet, God’s heart has never been to favour some, and leave others on the outside – He wants for everyone to have freedom from things that slave us and receive the fullness of His love  (2 Peter 3:9).You and I might not have been part of a mob, making us feel precluded from salvation. Yet, you must have probably felt like an outsider at some point in your life. Know that God’s saving grace is for everyone.While listening to Michael Franzese’s powerful story of redemption, I was reminded of this overwhelming realization while being in Israel. God loves the entire world in an inclusive way.  Walking the promised land amongst Jesus’ “blood-related” people, my heart was glad that our God did not have favourites. We have been grafted into God’s family! Through the Old Testament and in the New Testament, we see the promise of salvation and of His Holy Spirit was for the Jews first, and then for the Gentiles- non-Jews, outsiders of the Jewish faith (Romans 1:16).  Jesus promised His Holy Spirit to the apostles before taken up to heaven. However, He clearly gives power so that His Message of salvation spreads to Jerusalem, and then to the rest of us – to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8-9) . After receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter and the apostles were consumed with passion and power to share the message of salvation in Jerusalem (Acts 2 – Acts 10), until a pivotal moment in Caesarea that opened the door to rest of the world, to which you and I should be thankful for.Acts 10 was a spirit-filled, supernatural and gamechanger chapter for the world – non-Jews, or Gentiles! The Holy Spirit gave vision to Cornelius an influential Italian-Roman Centurion during prayer. Even when he was leading a godly life, not a Jewish proselyte, he still needed to hear the way of salvation.An Angel of the Lord appeared to Cornelius saying, “Your prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention,” and then instructed him to get his men to Joppa to ask for Peter. While Cornelius’ servants were about to approach Joppa, Peter was praying and fell into a trance.  “He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowered by ropes at its four corners settled on the ground. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. Then a voice came: “Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.” (Acts 10:11-12).Peter quickly refused as the Jewish law forbade eating unclean animals, which gentiles would openly eat. With such a vision, God overturned the law and changed the way Peter was seeing Gentiles: as unqualified to receive salvation. The Holy Spirit said to Peter: “What God has made clean, do not call common.” After a supernatural turn of events, the story resumes with Peter arriving at Cornelius home in Caesarea, sharing the Gospel with him and his household. God’s presence was felt in this Gentile home, and while Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the Word. Without the laying of hands, all were filled, and spoke in tongues, worshipping God. (Acts 10:44-48) The Jewish believers were amazed, as they sawJoel’s prophecy be fulfilled where His Spirit would be poured out on all flesh, regardless of age and culture, with signs following on earth. Acts 10:34-36 shows us that with God there is no partiality, and the door was open to the rest of the world:34-36 Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.It was through a man like Cornelius, a Roman Centurion who desired to know God and sought Him sincerely in prayer that God opened the door to all the world at Caesarea. While society classifies us by ethnicity, gender, and our works, God’s love and grace transcends every label and sees past every distinction, giving us salvation and the promise of His Spirit. As Gentiles, we have received what was promised to the Jewish nation first, but then made available to all of us. We are no longer outsiders, out of favour, but we’ve been redeemed and added to His Eternal family. God has no favourites and reveals Himself to those who really seek intimacy with Him from the depth of each heart – just like Apostle Peter did, like Cornelius the Italian Centurion did, and like Michael Franzese the mobster did.God has no favourites! He is ready to reveal the fullness of Him to anyone who draws near to Him (James 4:8); He sure will draw near to any heart who is sincere. PrevPreviousOpen My Eyes ..read more
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Coastal Church | Vancouver by Pastor Dan Walton - 3M ago
Pastor Dan Walton Open My Eyes Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin Open My EyesThere is an older Gospel song that asks God to open our eyes:Open our eyes LordWe want to see Jesus,To reach out and touch HmAnd say that we love Him.Open our ears LordAnd helped us to listen,Open our eyes LordWe want to see Jesus.Matthew 15:31 says that the people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.It is an amazing thing to witness the miracles of God. In the book of Isaiah , God speaks a prophetic word foretelling Jesus coming and setting people free. We see the fulfillment of this in the New Testament when the works of Jesus were recorded.  This has not stopped, as some might think, but God continues to heal and continues to touch blind eyes, both physically and figuratively.Acts 9:1-20 tells the story of Saul, who persecuted the Christian Church, and how God met him on the road to Damascus. There he heard the voice of Jesus and was blinded by a bright light which caused him to fall to the ground. He was told to go into the city and where he would then be told what to do.  The thing that made this a bit difficult for Saul was that he was blinded.  But God had a plan for Saul.  God spoke to one of His disciples, Ananias, and told him to go to Saul and lay hands on him that he might receive his sight.  Understandably, Ananias was leery because of Saul’s reputation for killing and imprisoning believers, but he obeyed God and went and prayed for Saul. He laid hands on Saul and Saul received his sight again and was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then we read that immediately the scales fell from his eyes and, after he spent some days with the disciples at Damascus, he immediately began to preach in the synagogues that Christ is the Son of God.  His life changed drastically with one touch of God and with the filling by the Holy Spirit.I am in no way comparing my story with Saul’s story – it was not as dramatic as his – but I do know that with one touch of God, my eyes were open and my life was changed by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.On August 28, 1976, God opened my eyes.  At the time I had just enough religious knowledge to be dangerous.  One day on my way to work, while driving with some other men, the conversation turned to God and our belief in God.  After about five minutes, trying to put my two cents in, I realized that I was in way over my head with this conversation and I decided to keep quiet and listen.  About one month after hearing of God’s love and acceptance and that He had a plan for my life, I knew that Jesus was real and that I needed to commit my life to Him. I asked Jesus to forgive me and I asked Him into my life.  All of a sudden my eyes were opened to who God is and my life took a drastic change.  When the Holy Spirit came upon me, I knew that there was no turning back from what God had planned for me. A miracle took place, I was once blinded to who and what God was and I began to see and understand more.  I even immediately began to share my faith with others.  Very similarly to Saul, with one touch of the Holy Spirit I knew what God wanted me to do.My friends at the time did not understand and they drove across Canada to convince me that I was wrong, convinced that they could talk me out of it.  They were not successful.  They could not change what God had done.  The experience was amazing.  God filled me.  He made me replete, He filled me with abundance and completed me fully and abundantly.  As William Safire said, “It is like a book replete with … delicious details”.From that point on, God began to cram me fully with His goodness, like a net filled with a fresh catch of fish.  He levelled me and filled the hollow hole that was within my being.  For the first time in my life I felt satisfied and God began to show me parts of the task He had for me.It just took one touch of the Holy Spirit to be filled with all that God had for me.  To be filled with seeds that would develop into fruit that would eventually ripen in me.  Some of that fruit takes longer to ripen but it ripens in the right times so that others can benefit from it.  That fruit is God’s love, joy, peace, which were instantaneous; then there was the long-suffering which ripens a bit slower.  Then goodness, faithfulness, quietness and self control.  This fruit began to ripen within me and I began to grow in the Grace of God.  Over time, God took away the anger, bitterness, loneliness and began to furnish me with what I would need to complete His will in my life.  I look back over 43 years of God filling me, helping me to execute the office He put me into and He has faithfully fulfilled His promises to me.  He has allowed me to influence others for Him.One touch by the Holy Spirit!  Even the things that God said that I must suffer seemed to be more exciting than fearing what might happen.To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be furnished, supplied and to have God accomplish His plans in our lives.  He will give us the boldness and the power to walk with Him.  Acts 2:8 says “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”You too can experience the touch of the Holy Spirit in your life.  The promise of the Holy Spirit did not end in Saul’s time. Acts 2:39 says that the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.You are called, receive Jesus today. He wants to open your eyes! PrevPreviousFather’s Day ..read more
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Coastal Church | Vancouver by Pastor Brian Taylor - 3M ago
Pastor Brian Taylor Father’s Day Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin As I look at coastal church’s event bulletin for May and Jun, there is one word on the cover, ”Filled” and you notice the needle is on the full mark. These are the weeks of Pastor Dave teaching on the Person and ministry of The Holy Spirit, and this is an important point: we must be filled. This weekend we learned about the Fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23. When God’s Spirit comes He brings some beautiful fruits with Him for our lives. They follow right after the worst things in our lives, the works of the flesh, in Galations 5:19-21. It is obvious we need these fruits of God’s Spirit, in our lives and in our society.We also celebrated Father’s Day this weekend, and we recognise and pay tribute to fathers this week. So I will say something about fathers today. We can see the fruits of the Spirit evident in the lives of fathers in the Bible.Every father knows that he is not a father only on one day, but a father on every day. The greatest Being in the universe, the One Who created it, He never changes, He is everlasting. When He gave us a title about Himself it was relational. It was not about a job or a career, or His creative power – it was Father. Everyone in all the earth can have this relationship with Him. In fact, He wants us to have just this. He is Father everyday, not just on June 16th. The Lord Jesus said when we pray, say” Our Father Who is in Heaven”.In the Bible there are stories about many fathers. In the new Testament, one of the most important fathers must have been Joseph, husband of Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus. We think about Mary more than Joseph because he does not stay in the story very long. But great things have been said about Joseph. The challenges he faced, his patience, his loyalty, his gentleness, his goodness to Mary and the baby Jesus, all fruits of the Spirit.I want to look at another famous father in the Bible. This time in the Old Testament. He had a famous family with all kind of troubles. In fact at one point, in the midst of troubles he was so sad and depressed he said,” All these things are against me.” The truth was that all “these things” were, for once, actually working for him. Also in this story are some of the most heart breaking words ever spoken. They were spoken, not by the father, but by one of his sons; speaking to another son about their youngest brother.By now you will have guessed the story, found in Genesis chapters 42-46, of Jacob and his twelve sons, and the story of Joseph being in Egypt. The heart breaking words are found in Genesis 44:18-34. This is Judah pleading for Benjamin to return home and not to be kept in Egypt: “33Now please let me remain in Egypt as your slave instead of the lad. Let him return with his brothers. 34For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?”Judah has already said what is true of any father, in verse 30. Jacob’s life is bound up in the life of Benjamin. In the next verse he says ”it will happen, when he sees the lad is not with us, he will die. So we will bring the grey hair of our father with sorrow to the grave.”The most challenging thought to us as fathers is captured in Judah’s word: ”How can I go up to my father if the lad is not with me” I started out with the greatest Father of all, our Heavenly Father. Now think about our children and say “How can I go up to my Heavenly Father if my children are not with me?” Look again at Ephesians 6:4: “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” The greatest place to be is in the House of The Lord, being filled with the fruit of His Spirit – see you in church. PrevPrevious5 Keys to Restoring Lost Power ..read more

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