Upstream

Upstream SeriesWe are living in a culture that is headed in the wrong direction; who’s values and perspectives are in opposition to the laws and principles of God’s Word. As the world’s inhabitants are flowing with the current of this prevailing culture, we, as Christians, are called to live a life that is ‘counter-cultural’ to that. This is a difficult and taxing prospect but is nonetheless mandatory for the child of God.

This can be compared to the Atlantic salmon that when it comes time to spawn it’s offspring, it finds it’s way from the ocean to a river and begins to swim ‘upstream’ in an effort to get to it’s destination. It swims, jumps and struggles with all of it’s energy against the strong currents moving rapidly in the opposite direction. When it has reached it’s spawning waters, releases it’s eggs and then out of sheer exhaustion, it dies.

Christianity is fraught with immense struggles, particularly against the tide of the post-modern world, where spiritual truth is considered relative, sin is merely an alternative lifestyle and to stand for the teachings of Scripture is condemned and ridiculed. However, we must ‘swim upstream’ and be determined to use all of our efforts and resources to ensure that we get to our destination.

Not only do we have to endure the world but we also wrestle against our own flesh that again is inclined to go towards only one direction, sin. Paul tells us in Romans 7:18 that in our flesh dwells no good thing, but it is inclined to do evil. Our spirit must walk against this natural tendency in order to live a life free from the bondage of sin. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory.

So swim upstream saints of God, even though at times it seems there’s little progress and you feel like your swimming on the spot. Give it everything you’ve got, knowing that your God will never allow you to go through that which you can not handle. We will get to our destination.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26

This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.

Enlarge My View Of God

The old Sunday School song which asserts that our God is so big and so mighty and there’s nothing that He can not do, is lost to a generation that instead perceives a God that is subjective and malleable to personal tastes and preferences. A God created in man’s image which contravenes the very first of the Ten Commandments.

We expect this from the post-modern mindset that dominates our society today but even in the Church our view of God is one of our own making. Many view Him as a mean, legalistic deity whose main task is to watch us when we mess up and then mete out the appropriate punishment. Alternatively, He rewards us for our good performance. This gives rise to a superstitious approach to God. Further still, some view God as merely a God of love who would never let one soul perish in hell despite how they have lived.

Thank God the Bible has revealed to us that he is a just God as well as love itself. His justice was meted out, not on us, but on the man Christ Jesus as the expression of God’s love to us. Jesus Christ took our punishment and the justice that’s due to all sinners upon himself, sinless and pure, and gave his life as the payment. When we can see God through the face of Jesus Christ, knowing that He would go all the way, even in death for us, then we can rest in the knowledge of His great care and consideration. When we can walk in this understanding and belief, it can revolutionize our lives and our thinking.

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32

This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.

Christian Wholeness

When we consider salvation, we often think in terms of the spiritual component of our beings. It is true that our spirits are the eternal part of who we are. As such this has often led many Christians to place importance on only that aspect at the neglect of the other parts of our lives. However, the Apostle Paul insightfully encourages us in 1 Thessalonian 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are admonished to not only have our spiritual nature preserved and whole but also our soul and body. The body obviously is our physical make up. We need to ensure that we care for our bodies as temples of the Holy Ghost, belonging to God. We must not abuse our bodies with substances such as nicotine and other drugs but also with unhealthy habits such as lack of sleep and unhealthy diets, etc.

We must also not neglect our soul-ish functions such as our emotions, mind and will. There are many believers who have experienced a spiritual awakening, and have done so for some time, yet their emotional maturity may have not been developed. This is the reason why many Christians struggle in their journey and are the cause of others being hurt and offended – because their emotional immaturity makes them incapable of treating others with kindness and respect. There are some who may have been in church for a long time but due to un-dealt issues of insecurity, fear of rejection, resentment or whatever emotional debilitation, continue to struggle with their sense of contentment and affect others.

Hebrews 12:15 tells us: “….lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Take action in every aspect of your being to find wholeness, or maturity, in Christ and in spirit, soul and body.

This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.

Pentecost

The Day of Pentecost signaled the inauguration of the Church of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. After Christ had ascended to heaven, his disciples waited in earnest for the promise of the Holy Spirit that would bring empowerment, comfort and guidance. Sure enough, on that God-ordained day, after ten days of tarrying in prayer, the Spirit of God burst dramatically into the Upper room, filling all that were present with his Spirit.

This experience was so energizing to the once timid disciples that the immediate consequence of their Spirit-infilling was that it be taken outside the upper room. Others in the city heard of, and witnessed, this incredible phenomenon of speaking in tongues and prophesying. After the emboldened Peter preached the first Pentecostal sermon, 3,000 souls were converted receiving the same experience.

The Church was born in a dynamic, powerful and supernatural manner nearly two thousand years ago. But there is absolutely no reason why the Church of the Living God could not experience the same divine intervention. But on the contrary, I believe that this Pentecostal experience and Apostolic message is to be expected and a characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ. We must pray not only for Pentecost revisited but Pentecost exceeded. Before His return, in order to reach 7 billion people on this planet, the challenge is for the Church to tarry in prayer, fasting with desire and unity of the Body of Christ to see this come to pass in a greater measure. We are seeing pockets of unprecedented revival all over the world but we need more of it, in every corner of the globe.

The word ‘Pentecost’ simply means fiftieth as it was fifty days after Passover. It also coincided with both the Jewish ‘Feast of Weeks’ and ‘Feast of Harvest.’ One commemorated the giving of the law through Moses and the other signified the first fruits of the harvest of crops.

Similarly, Pentecost initiated the New Testament harvest of souls with the ‘first-fruits’ being filled with the Spirit of God and the revelation of the plan of salvation in Acts 2:38. This being: Repentance, Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

We need both the Pentecostal experience and the Apostolic message that ensures we have the same experience and the same doctrine as that of the Apostles of Jesus. And if it was good enough for Peter, Paul, James, John and the other disciples, then it is good enough for me. Pentecost is not just another denomination in the world, neither is it an imitation of the Christian church but as far as the Word of God is concerned, it is THE Church of Jesus Christ. Be a part of it today.

This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.