Over the last few months, a new song has been circulating around the Church that the Holy Spirit seems to be using to unleash new faith, new life, and new hope. In many ways it is a simple song, with simple "Jesus declarations" repeated over and over again - the words are few, but the declarations are powerful. The Song is called "I Speak Jesus". If you haven't heard it, here's a couple of links you can click on to listen to it...
Inspired by this song, and aware of the uncertainties and challenges of life just now - from the very personal to the international - I began to look through the New Testament and how the early disciples "spoke Jesus" with such confidence, boldness and courage. In fact, confidence in the name of God is found all the way through the bible, Old and New Testament, in the face of both personal, national and international crisis.
Those times of reading, mixed with the power of the song, gave rise to this year's Lent Preaching series, which we begin on Sunday. Giving full credit to the song writers, I have unashamedly called this series "Speak Jesus"! It's an invitation to return to the priority of our simple trust in the Mighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and in His Son, Jesus, whose name is above every name, and to allow the Holy Spirit to take us deeper into the knowledge of Christ who loves us - We Speak Jesus!
So let me encourage you to listen to the song, invite the Spirit to minister it's truth to you, and begin to respond to the situations of life, by speaking & welcoming Jesus. And if you have time, why not read Acts 2-5 and observe the disciples, filled with the Spirit, as they "speak Jesus".
Let me also remind you that we have our ENCOUNTER evening on Sunday at 7.30pm (until around 9.30pm) in the Church. "ENCOUNTER" evenings give space for simple worship and prayer as we seek God together and welcome His presence - and in His presence things change! We'll have time for prayer ministry, and declaring the name of Jesus together over our lives, our families, our city, over the areas of conflict and crisis, whether personally or internationally, and crying out to the Lord for mercy, peace and justice. Feel free to come for the whole time, or drop in when you're able.
Finally, as we walk through this season of Lent, we want to consider what conflicts and crises we might be facing in life, and bring Christ to them and them to Christ - both are necessary. How do we face the times of uncertainty, division, sorrow, anxiety or hurt? In this morning's Prayer time, Donald shared some verses of scripture with us that bring Jesus into those places - our choice to rejoice, and speak out Jesus and his praise.
Perhaps you could take some time to come before the Lord in prayer and worship, and bring to Him those places of crisis and conflict. And as you pray, offer praise, speak the name of Jesus, rejoice in Him, give thanks, and in doing so welcome Jesus to deal with those very places of crisis and conflict, and bring his peace.
So let me leave you with the passage Donald shared this morning from Philippians 4:4-7...
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Grace and Peace