Grace – Great Grace

It was a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors, the sun was bright, warm and brought brief solace from the office work environment.  I was enjoying a short lunch break at Wynyard Park when my privacy was suddenly interrupted.  “Can I get a cigarette?” a gruff, female voice asked.  Her natural voice was noticeably masked by years of irreversible damage that smoking had caused, and a heavy smoker’s voice was the result.  I looked up, her eyes met mine.

grace_group-600x400Her disheveled presentation and her lack of general personal grooming indicted that she had more than a cigarette addiction.  Years of substance abuse were etched in her face.  The old lady that I was seeing was most likely only middle aged.

I guessed her question was directed at myself.  “No ma’am, I don’t smoke,” I replied.

“Oh that’d be right, you have a job,” she immediately snarled.  She followed up with some incoherent words mixed with the type of swear words I barely knew existed.  She walked away, looking over her shoulder as she relentlessly kept up the pace of the verbal abuse.

I didn’t reply.  I didn’t know what I could say that could ease the frustration of this woman at this moment.  I would normally be embarrassed to have such unwanted attention focused on me, but this time was different.  Others watched the outburst with curiosity while continuing to munch on their sandwiches.  They appeared to accept this as normal behavior.

Suddenly my vision changed.  I now saw an unkempt lady exercising a loss of vocal self-control.  Rather, I saw a soul that was fearfully and wonderfully made.  A person that was made in the image of God.

And this made me angry.  Angry that this lady had believed a lie.  Angry that she had been tricked by the thief who came for nothing but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  John 10:10

This was not the life that God had intended for her.  It was unlikely the life that she had intended for herself, but for reasons unknown, she had made some poor life choices, and the end result was anything but desirable.

And then came the moment of clarity.  But for the grace of God, go I.

These moments give me the shivers as I catch a glimpse of where I could have been if it wasn’t for the grace of God.

What if I hadn’t responded when God called me?  What if I chose the beggarly elements of the world instead of the riches that the Kingdom of God offers?  Could that be me today?  I now had a renewed over-whelming sense of gratitude and thanksgiving.

The apostle Paul recognized that anything good in his life was not of his doing, but only the grace of God when he penned the words to the Corinthian church:

But by the grace of God I am what I am… 1 Corinthians 15:10

Not only should we have compassion and pray for those who have been marred by the stain of sin, but it should also lead to self-reflection, with remembrance of where God brought us from and where we could be today.  And that, my friend, should cause us to have an attitude of thanksgiving!

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  Psalm 100:4

This is a blog post from Shawn Arbeau, the Sunday School Director of the POS.

Go, Affect Others

It had been many years since his conquest over Goliath, a now grey-headed David walked out on the battlefield. The Israelites were at war again with the Philistines. David was a man of war and throughout his many years on the throne his kingdom had expanded.

4980049_origAs the battle raged on the King became tired. A giant name Ishbi-benob advanced on David with the intention of killing him but Abishai came to the rescue of his King and killed the giant. After that Davidʼs men asked him not to come out again in combat.

Later, a battle took place at Gob where an Israelite name Sibbecai struck down Saph, a descendant of the giants. During another clash at Gob Elhanan, one of Davidʼs soldiers, fought and defeated a giant whose name was, ironically, Goliath.

Finally, during a battle at Gath another giant was defying Israel, much like Goliath, but this guy was bigger. The Bible says that he was a man of great stature that had 12 fingers and 12 toes. While he defied Israel, Jonathan, Davidʼs nephew, went out to fight him and struck him down.

David affected others. He didn’t let the successes of Israel stop with just his conquests but four other men that he influenced killed giants of their own.

King David’s son, Solomon, was a very wise, wealthy and obviously anointed King but his kingdom collapsed after his reign. Why? Because, unlike his father, he didn’t leave behind a mark on those around him.

Itʼs not enough to be the only one called by God but you have to take that anointing, that calling, and start affecting others.

Some of the last words of Jesus, documented in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations. (Mat 28:19, NLT)

Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to everyone. (Mrk 16:15)

Preach repentance and remission of sins in my name among all nations. (Luk 24:47)

It wasn’t enough that the disciples’ lives had been changed by Jesus but He commanded them simply to – Go, affect others.

And that is our mandate. We must impact the lives of others for Jesus. It worked for the Apostles, I’m sure it will work for you and I.

This is a blog post from Greg Hackathorn, the Administrator of the Pentecostals of Sydney.

Living the Kingdom Life

Our church theme for 2016 is Kingdom Life.  All throughout the Gospels, we read of Jesus not only teaching about what Kingdom Life is but, more so, He demonstrated Kingdom Life to those He interacted with every day during His time of ministry on earth.

Jesus demonstrated this through His love and compassion as He went about healing those that were sick, freeing those that were bound, bringing revelation to those that were spiritually blind, feeding those that were hungry… The list can go on and on.

KingdomLife_Flash_promoWhen we are born again, the Bible tells us that we enter into the Kingdom of God.  We become citizens of His kingdom.  Anywhere around the world you go, every country has its own set of rules or patterns of behaviour that the citizens are asked to live by if they want to be part of that country or kingdom.

If we are to be part of the Kingdom of God, in the Bible we can find how we are to behave and live under the King’s domain. Being part of a Kingdom also means that we share in fraternity with the other citizens.  And it is with others that we live out what Jesus taught.

We have been given the power to ‘lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.’  We have been admonished to bring revelation to those that are spiritually blind through sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus.  Through His death on the cross, Jesus forgives us of our sins when we repent.  And because we have received such great mercy and forgiveness, it is possible for you and I to extend forgiveness and mercy to those who hurt us.

Being born again is the start of our journey in the Kingdom of God.  Just as each part of our physical body has a function, so too, you and I in the Kingdom of God are part of the body of Christ and have a function and purpose!

The Bible tells us that it is in God that we ‘live and move and have our being.’  As you journey in the Kingdom, be mindful of what God has called you to do.  You and I have been empowered with the Spirit of God for a purpose!

Just as Jesus demonstrated Kingdom Life to those He interacted with every day, I encourage you to do likewise. Demonstrate the Kingdom Life to those you interact with today… Not just those that believe in God but also to those that have not yet committed to the Kingdom.  Love, forgive, teach, bless, encourage, pray…

This is what we are called to do.

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”