Everything Matters

Upon first glance, and a surface read of the book of Ecclesiastes, we are immediately struck by a foreboding and pessimistic perspective of the author about the weary futility and utter meaninglessness of life on earth. The repetitive qualities of nature, history and our human existence itself underscores a depressing outlook that we can neither refute or honestly deny.

52482What this deep consideration does ultimately give rise to however, is that life without God is utterly meaningless. The good news is that we can live for God, and with God, in the richness of a real and dynamic relationship of faith with our heavenly Father.

As the Righteous Judge; morally perfect and upright in all his adjudication, He brings meaning to every aspect of our lives. The mundane, day to day activities, our behaviour, and the decisions that we make all have meaning. His presence and abundant life that He gifts to us fills us with true joy and purpose. The fact that our actions and words have eternal consequences, and thereby ultimate meaning, brings us the joy of the Lord that becomes our strength.

Ecc 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

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

Obedience Today

Obedience is a word and a concept that today is considered old fashioned and misplaced in an “enlightened” and post-modern world. Especially with the prevailing worldview of relative truth and subjective reality in our society. The idea of obedience then is misconstrued by such perspectives, that it’s relevance becomes subject to convenience, social acceptance and immediate gratification.

As followers of Christ however, we are required to obey God’s Word unequivocally. That means that we are to do what God commands us to do, even at the expense of what is convenient for us personally or what may or may not be popular in the world. There is also the great temptation to delay obedience for another time for the sake of personal gratification now. As parents we teach our children about delayed gratification in order to instill resilience and discipline in them and in like manner, as Christians, it’s our personal desires that must take a back seat to immediate and radical obedience.

It’s of vital importance for us to understand that God gives us his laws and statutes to follow, not because He is some egotistical megalomaniac as suggested by modern atheists but because obeying his word is of great benefit to us spiritually and physically, as well as every other aspect of human life. On the contrary, a life that is without rule and boundaries is often destructive and unfulfilled.

Radical obedience to God’s word is not laborious or mundane but it is life and life more abundant because it is obedience borne out of a love relationship with our Creator and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We don’t instruct our toddlers not to walk on the railway track because we want to be controlling parents and make life miserable for them, we do it out of love, even if they don’t completely understand the why. Obedience is so powerful that without it, we can not go to heaven but to reiterate, it is an outflow of our passionate love for Christ and as such, it is not a chore or a burden, but a privilege.

John 14:21 Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.

John 15:6-7 Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted

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

The Centre

For much of the ancient world (except for the Bible) and even up to the last five hundred years, most people on earth believed that the sun and other celestial bodies revolved around our small but significant blue planet. While this may seem like an obvious conclusion from observation, Copernicus (1473-1543) and scientific data since have proven that it’s the Sun which is the centre of our solar system by which all planets, including our own, revolves around. But for the longest time surface observation gave the impression otherwise.

41859This idea is similar to how a person views life. Without God, we felt as though we were the centre of our universe and in many respects, that’s how we approached life. However, when we enter into a relationship with God, it is He who becomes the very epicentre of our existence.

God does not adapt to accomodate us but we begin to change and transform in order to serve His purpose and be obedient to His laws. Contrary to what some would believe, submission to God’s Word is not bondage or misery but instead it brings life and joy and fulfilment. God designed life that we would look to the Source of all life to provide us with His goodness and provisions.

Our priorities, our; time, resources, affections, attitudes, behaviours, etc, are to be in align-ment with what is pleasing to God and not the other way around. When you make his Word as the principles and ideas by which we build our lives upon, we are in the correct order that God had intended and created us for, from the very beginning. Thus it is pertinent and wise to always consider our ways, as to whether it is pleasing and glorifying to God. Are we serving in his Kingdom, and for his purpose, by reaching the lost, praying and being part of His Church?

Let our prayer be “Jesus be centre of my life!”

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of eve-ry creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:15-18

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”