Spring Time

Spring time is a wonderful time of the year and favoured by many because it represents a welcome change. After a long, cold and wet winter, the change to warmer weather, the transformation of the scenery with the bloom of flowers and leaves on trees and many other spring characteristics does something to lift the mind and mood of a person.

wildfloweresNot only because we can put away the coats and warm apparel, and getting out of bed becomes less challenging but the change into this season is an indelible reminder (for me at least) of several things:

Firstly, the season change in the natural is a representation of the spiritual in that we may go through periods or seasons of difficulty and trials but we can take heart in those hard times knowing that it won’t last always. God created the natural world with seasons which creates a balance in the topography and biology of the planet, while also producing various characteristics in many life forms. In like manner, the winters of our discontent can produce strength and resilience while balanced by the relief of the warmer months of victory and blessings.

Secondly, Spring is a physical analogy for the ultimate glorification of the Believer. Paul tells us in 1Th 4:17 – Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

Whether we have passed in this life or are still alive, yet there is coming a time, on a particular day when we will be taken up to the clouds of glory and we shall be changed into our incorruptible bodies. This is our ultimate goal and longing. Let us never lose sight of this coming change for it shall indeed be glorious. So do everything in your will and power to ensure that you don’t miss this!

Finally, for our local assembly the Pentecostals of Sydney, this also signals one of the most important events in our calendar; Turning Point Conference. Just as Spring is a turning point in the seasons, this conference with our anointed guest speakers Br Emory and Br Shalm can be a life altering experience. Do everything you can to be at every service and bring someone with you. Never underestimate what God can do in a gathering of hungry and faith filled Saints, remember that life is not defined by minutes but by moments. Don’t miss this moment in the season of your life.

Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air. The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!” Songs of Solomon 2:11-13

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

Is Holiness Relevant For Today?

God’s command to the Israelites was, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (Lev 20:7). Yet, the same command is repeated in the New Testament to born again believers, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness was not just for the Old Testament people of God.

imageHoliness is important to God. In fact, holiness is the very essence of who God is.

So what does holiness mean? The basic meaning of the word holiness is to be ‘set apart’ or dedicated to God.

Sadly, being holy is not discussed very often in churches today because it seems to be outdated and too challenging to live out. It’s important to understand that holiness is not just a matter of what I do or don’t do which would then qualify me as being holy or not.

In fact, I believe obeying certain guidelines and rules would be ‘easier’ than actually having to explore what is inside of me in striving for holiness. Our Pastor mentioned the other day the Bible verse, our ‘heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?’ (Jer 17:9). That is where holiness occurs…in our heart…our mind, will and emotions.

So in our pursuit of holiness, examining our heart against God’s holiness is the right place to start. God’s holiness is found in the Bible. When you start to read on the subject of holiness in the Bible, you see that holiness is much more than just being morally pure.  Morality is certainly part of holiness but that is not all that it is.

Holiness for you and I as believers is demonstrated through our day to day lives; our day to day behaviours including our thinking patterns.

God requires you and I to be set apart from the world. I don’t believe this means going and living on a compound somewhere away from society but rather that we live in the world by God’s standards and not the world’s standards. Marching to the beat of God’s drum rather than this world’s drum. In fact, when Jesus was on earth, He totally went against what the accepted religious believers lived and taught at that time. He was set apart.

If I am set apart – who am I set apart from?  God is asking you and I to be set apart from the value system of this world. So much of what the world projects today is self interest, self preservation and self promotion. Yet, the holiness that God teaches us is so different from this. God’s holiness teaches us to ‘in love prefer one another’ (Rom 12:1), ‘deny yourself’ (Mat 16:24) and ‘humble yourself before God’ (James 4:10).

Holiness is not like a garment that you can put on but rather it is something that is cultivated in our lives through the choices we make.  Choosing to spend time in prayer every day; reading and meditating on the Word of God every day; forgiving others; fellowshipping with other believers are the foundation of holiness.

Why is holiness so important?  Firstly, because holiness is important to God, it needs to be important to me.  I love God and I desire to obey His Word and please Him.

HolinessSecondly, the Bible says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” (Heb 12:14).  So cultivating holiness in my life is imperative if I desire to be saved.

I don’t want to be like the Pharisees – Jesus said of them, “Ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness,” (Mat 23:27).

I don’t just want to look the part on the outside but I want to be full of life (God’s power) and clean (through His righteousness) from the inside out!  How is that possible?  By allowing the Lord to cultivate in me His character.

Am I truly set apart from this world and dedicated to God and His Kingdom?  An interesting question to ask ourselves, don’t you think?

This is a post from Jena Grech, the Assistant Pastor of The Pentecostals of Sydney and author of “Fruitful in the Land of My Affliction”

Out of this World

You may have heard the saying; ‘Out of this World’… It’s a figure of speech that describes something as impressive or enjoyable. Like the latest decadent cronut dessert or the dream holiday experience, it would not be misplaced to ascribe this colloquialism to them. And rightly so in some cases.
What would also be appropriate is to attribute this same saying to the Children of God. We are in the world but we’re not of this world. Jesus spake this of his followers; “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19

39931What Christ is referring to is based on the truth that the world’s system is ruled by Satan, considered the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4, Luke 4:5-6). As Believers, we live physically on this planet in this physical world but there is also a spiritual reality where the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. As not being of this world, we have a different value system and different morals and ethics. We learn and apply such concepts and ideas from the Word of God and by the inspiration of God. Our attitudes, behaviours, thoughts, presentation, priorities and every other aspect of our lives are to be influenced and determined not by popular media or celebrities or even politicians but they are to be determined by the absolute truth of God’s Word.

It’s not to say that everything in the world is bad, it is not, in fact all truth is God’s Truth. But when issues conflict with the Word of God which is becoming common place in the world today, we as Christians must remain faithful to the standards of morality and holiness that must be applied in this world but is of another world.

The sad indictment on this world came in John 1:10 -11 where it says; “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” The God of all Creation came to the world that He created and yet the inhabitants of the world rejected him. It is no different with God’s Church, where we are in this world but rejected and mocked and persecuted because we are not of this world. Yes we are awesome! Because we serve a God who is ‘Out of this World’!

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

End Times

We are definitely seeing a time of rapid change and great social and political upheaval right across the world. With our country having just had a Federal election, we wait to see what changes it may bring about.

Oly 3

Germany in the 1920’s under the Weimar Republic went through a period of cultural renaissance and a rise in social liberalism. Berlin gained a reputation for decadence. Such luminaries at the time like Dr Magnus Hirschfield promoted such things as transgenderism, nudism, and challenged sexual norms and taboos. However this new social liberalism and moral decay helped create social backlash and the perfect environment for a just as harmful movement to rise, fascism. Excess and licentiousness soon gave way to poverty and despair as the depression spread across the globe. The Nazis utilised the frustration and despair experienced by many Germans to help bring them to power and inflict their evil regime under Adolph Hitler.

Likewise before the fall of Rome in 476 AD, Rome experienced a period of great wealth, excess but also great moral decay, with sexual sin in particular reaching a high water mark. Soon after it all came crashing down as Rome not only experienced invasion by Goths but Rome also dismantled internally.

Just like in Germany in the 1920’s and Rome before it fell 1600 years ago, our global society is seeing a period of comparative decadence and moral decay.

Here are three scripture concerning the Endtimes and second coming of Christ that I will highlight as they show that we are very likely living in the Endtimes.

  1. Mark 13:10 – “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” (see also Matthew 24:14)

The Gospel will be preached in every nation before the second coming of Christ.

globe-1130870_960_720When Jesus spoke these words 2000 years ago his audience did not know the existence of much of the world. They did not even know the existence of the continents of North America, South America and Australia. They had no idea about much of sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Asia and any of the Pacific islands. In fact it was only in the last 200 years that it was even possible for the Gospel to be preached to every nation, as people’s across the world began to come into contact with each other for the first time in thousands of years.

Today however Jesus’s prophecy has possibly already been fulfilled. The rise of the internet could also be the very vehicle that makes it possible for the Gospel to have been preached in every nation virtually.

  1. Daniel 12:4 – “…even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased”

In ancient times the largest library on earth was the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, yet the books contained in that library could not compare to the billions of pages of information available to billions of people on earth through the Internet. Knowledge today is so accessible to so many. It is so quick and so cheap to access. However less than 100 years ago, only the very rich could boast of possessing more than 100 books in their own personal library.

Much of the world 2000 years ago could not even read or write let alone have access to the information anyone in the world could have access to. Knowledge has definitely increased exponentially not just in the last 2000 years but in the last 20 years.

Also 2000 years ago, most people on Earth rarely travelled very far from their own village. Jesus only ever travelled at most 800 kilometres from his birthplace of Jerusalem when he went to Egypt as a child. Today most of us have not only travelled further than that to visit other cities like Melbourne or Brisbane, but we have flown overseas travelling thousands of kilometres in a few hours. People today are travelling far more than ever. The invention of the aeroplane, steam- powered train, diesel powered ships and the automobile in the last 250 years has led to people being able to travel so much quicker over so much more land and sea than ever before.

In the last 20 years, the increase in global wealth and relatively cheap airfares has meant that a greater proportion of humanity than ever before can travel all around the world by air.

Today Daniel’s words have definitely been fulfilled.

  1. Revelation 13:16-18“16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666.”

The Mark of the Beast mentioned in this verse can only happen in a cashless society. Think about it, at the time John wrote the Book of Revelation they could not have had an economic system without any physical currency. How could a mark on one’s hand or forehead determine how much money someone had to spend at a place of business, especially if that person was travelling outside of their hometown or homeland? mark-of-the-beastHowever since the introduction of the credit card in the 1960’s and the implementation of the Internet in the 1990’s, now a person’s bank balance and credit can be established instantaneously. If the Mark of the Beast given to people on their forehead or right hand in the form of an RFID chip, barcode tattoo or some other technology could easily be scanned and access someone’s bank account or credit card in much the same way the Eftpos system does now.

It is only in the past few years that technology and infrastructure is available in order to introduce the Mark of the Beast. People also are becoming more open to the idea of paying for things with a chip in their hand rather than carrying a card. The convenience and possibly even the security of such a system is highly attractive to today’s fast paced society.

We are on the verge of seeing this fulfilled today.

The End Times are here, be prepared (see Acts 2:38 for instructions).

This is blog post from Ben Finn, the New Life Journey Co-ordinator of the POS and former Youth Pastor.