Sunday, October 31, 2010

Induction followed by message "Don't Step Over Lazarus"

Steve Wyndham is the Senior Pastor of Yarra Plenty Church, Melbourne and the ACC Victoria City North District Leader. Steve presided over the formal induction of Oreste Pompetti as the new Pastor of Living Water Community Church. The induction followed by a message Steve preached on Sunday 31st October 2010 is available for download.

The message from Steve challenges us to use our power of choice to bring glory to God, as we choose to recognise the Lazarus's in our community and actively seek to support them and not step over them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Churches Grow as its People Grow

If we are sincerely walking in the way of Jesus as His apprentices, we would be itching to see growth in our lives, the lives of our fellow travellers and also in the number of new apprentices entering into the Kingdom of God.

The essence of such growth in the life of an apprentice, is an increasing intimate knowledge and love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As apprentices, this increase in the knowledge and love of God returns Kingdom growth in our lives and our churches. With this kind of personal growth on the increase one can expect that churches full of Spirit filled, growing apprentices will grow numerically as a consequence.

The scriptures in 1 Corinthians 3:6 provides us with the mindset we are to take when seeking growth in our lives and in that of our churches:
"I [Paul]planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow."

As we do our assigned work (planting, watering), trusting in the Lord and in partnership (ie fellowship) with other fellow workers (Paul, Apollos, you, me....), God will bring about personal and numerical growth (God made it grow).

We are to be faithful in using the abilities and skills we have been given in response to the work God has assigned to us. The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 reminds us, that as God entrusts what belongs to Him unto us, according to His wisdom, we are expected to give God a return on what He has given us through completing the Kingdom work assigned to us.

Just as the Master in the parable was looking for his servants to use what they were entrusted with in order to gain more (provide a return), God is also looking to His people to do the same thing. Where we don't give God a return, like the wicked, lazy servant, we stand to lose not only what we have been entrusted with, but also our place in God's kingdom. Put simply - use it or lose it. Sobering words but nonetheless we must heed the warning in this parable and not presume it is speaking to the person next to us and not us personally.

As we faithfully use our gifts, abilities and talents we can be assured that our Lord will bring forth growth and increase and respond with the words, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (Matthew 25:21)

Increase that shifts us from the "few" to the "many" is of God in response to our faithful service. God expects us to give something back, through serving Him with our abililites, no matter how little we feel we may have. We have all been entrusted with some ability and gift, to offer up in our worship of God through the humble service of our assigned works.

So when we pray that God will bring more people into the Kingdom and make our church grow; when we ask for growth and increase, personally and numerically, God responds by seeking to change us personally and looks for us to faithfully use what we have been entrusted with, before more is given. Unless we are changed along the way of our journey, we will not have the character and maturity to cope with the increase and growth that God desires to bring to us and our churches. What this means for you and I, is that God will make our churches grow where we the people in the church are growing along the way. Churches grow as the people in them grow as God intends.

Bye for now,
Oreste

Sunday, October 24, 2010

L.E.A.P

Oreste's message on Sunday 24th October 2010 is available for download.

In this message you will be challenged as you hear about the acid test that demonstrates if you truly love people. Take the L.E.A.P test and allow God to develop and transform you beyond the level of your test results.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Light Along the Way

As I was praying this morning I sensed the Holy Spirit reminding me of the scripture in Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

As apprentices of Jesus we travel along the narrow path of life and freedom knowing that we follow in our Master's footsteps. It is a great comfort to know that the word of God provides a guarantee that we can travel along that road with light that can enable us to keep moving ahead in obedience to the Lord. In fact the word of God is that light - it is a lamp to our feet and helps us take the steps we need to in our journey of faith. The word of God is a light for our path so we don't grope about in the darkness of this world.

I guess the key thing to remember as an apprentice of Jesus, is that we must constantly be immersing ourselves in the word of God in order for that light to effectively guide us in daily living. If you need to get a fresh kickstart on surrounding yourself with the excellence, wisdom and joy of the word of God in your life, can I suggest you read through all of Psalm 119. It is food for the soul. Feast on it and you will have light for the journey ahead.

Bye for now,
Oreste

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whittlesea Leader article - Ready to lead the flock

LWCC is in the local news; refer to the article about our new Pastor being "Ready to lead the flock" in last week's Whittlesea Leader (12 Oct 2010. Pages 26 - 27).

Oreste is now available three days per week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, in addition to Sunday mornings at our weekly service. We would love you to visit us this Sunday, for the Induction Service on 31 October, or you might prefer to contact us for a pastoral visit.

Reiterating Oreste's invitation: "I encourage people who used to go to church and who have dropped out to consider visiting us."

Oreste's induction service is to be held at 10am, Sunday 31 October, at Epping Memorial Hall.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

God is Passionate about the Purposes of His Heart

I have been having a feast of a time reading the book of Jeremiah. There is so much gold in these pages of Scripture. As I read chapter after chapter, I am seeing things about God that have not hit my eyeballs anywhere near as vividly as it has in my present reading of Jeremiah.

Alun Davies commented at the recent ACC Victorian State Conference, that he can only read a book once (no arguments from me there). He would never be interested in reading a book a second time. But he went on to say the Bible is different. You can read it again and again. And its fresh. You gain new insights, perspectives and points of view. The Bible is a living book. Amen to that Alun.

So let me say this - our God is a mighty God. He is to revered, respected, loved and feared. And there is no doubt that He is full of passion about accomplishing the purposes of His heart. In Jeremiah you are reminded time and time again that His purpose is to create a new thing on the earth, despite the failings of humanity as seen through the history of the unfaithfulness of the people of Judah; God is committed to creating a community of restored people with hearts to know Him and who desire to be close to Him. A community of people that brings God to express Himself as follows in Jeremiah 30:18-24:

18 "This is what the LORD says: " 'I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place.
19 From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers,and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.
20 Their children will be as in days of old,
and their community will be established before me; I will punish all who oppress them.
21 Their leader will be one of their own; their ruler will arise from among them.
I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?' declares the LORD.
22
" 'So you will be my people, and I will be your God.' "
23 See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of
the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this.

Can I encourage you to keep reading the word of God, again and again, with a
sense of expectation that God will speak to you and open your eyes by His
Spirit, so that today and in "days to come you will understand this".

Bye for now,
Oreste

Friday, October 8, 2010

Like Master, Like Apprentice:Working with Purpose Amongst the Crowd

As Jesus went about doing the works that the Father called Him to do, we should not be surprised that He was in amongst the people. The Scriptures tell us in Matthew 9:35-38 that Jesus worked in the synagogues and in the towns and villages where the people were. Today that would be equivalent to mixing with those in the church and those well and truly not in it and all shapes and sizes in between.

Matthew 9:35-38 (New International Version)
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

As Jesus mixed with the crowds, this enabled Him to see their need and it moved Him emotionally as He had compassion on them. What was the need that Jesus saw in them? Verse 36 says the people were like sheep without a shepherd for they were harassed and helpless. They needed protection and guidance from a shepherd that would care for them. Jesus is that shepherd- He is the good shepherd.

It is interesting to reflect on the comments that Jesus made to His disciples, in response to what He saw and was moved by as He mixed with the crowds. Clearly Jesus saw the great need among the people and in verse 37 goes on to speak of a plentiful harvest awaiting to be gathered among these sheep without a shepherd. But He also recognised that there appeared to be too few workers to gather in this harvest. Jesus was not called to bring them all in on His own but would need many other workers to join Him in the mission of gathering in the harvest. Jesus was to later command His disciples to go out among all peoples and make disciples of them. Thus when we think of workers in the context of these verses, it means the same thing as disciples or followers of Jesus.

Jesus gives us the key to recruitment difficulties when we need more willing workers or apprentices (i.e. disciples) to give us a hand with the greatest and most rewarding work that anyone could ever experience on this earth - it is simply to ask Father God for help! To ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers or apprentices into His harvest field. We do well to remember that the harvest field belongs to the Father and thus He is responsible for ensuring it is successfully harvested. However in His wisdom, our God invites us to be involved with Him in fulfilling this responsibility by asking Him to send out more workers/apprentices; and of course it goes without saying that we who ask are also to go out amongst the people as Jesus did.

We are to be apprentices of Jesus who are active in our community harvest fields. As apprentices we are to be making additional apprentices among all people. We are to ask our Father in heaven for help in this task by asking Him to send out more apprentices to lend a harvesting hand so that His kingdom will be realised on earth as in heaven.

Bye for now,
Oreste

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rest for the Weary Apprentice

My recent posts have been unashamedly focused around the thought of being a disciple or follower of Jesus. I would like to start using another word (instead of disciple or follower) to describe that relationship we are to have as believers with our Master Jesus Christ - that word is apprentice. We are to be the Master's apprentices. Essentially the words disciple, follower and apprentice all convey the same concepts but there is something new and fresh about the word apprentice - I like it.

Now that I've shared my new word with you, I want to remind us all of what Jesus said to us in Matthew 11:28-30. If you're inclined to think that this apprentice stuff is too heeeaaaavvvvy, think again. Jesus would have this to say to you:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Bye for now,
Oreste

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sasha Stanceski - Nehemiah: A new beginning Pt 2

Part Two of Sasha's message on 'Nehemiah: A new beginning' delivered Sunday 3 October 2010 is available for download.

Part One of Sasha's message is available here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Great Banquet

The mission Jesus has given us, is to go and make disciples among all people - no people group is to be excluded. Thankfully our Lord has given us everything we need to get the job done. Chief among what has been given to us as the church, is the authority to go out and do the mission. As this authority is from the living God, it is the highest of all authorities. So as Christians we are to go into our communities, workplaces, schools, universities and basically wherever we do life, with confidence and security, knowing we are on a mission of the highest importance given to us by the Master Jesus Christ.

We are to leave no group of people untouched in the fulfillment of this God-given mission. Jesus told a parable of a Great Banquet in Luke 14 that gives us a clear insight into the heart and mind of God, on the matter of who and how we are to reach with the message of the gospel. A person who is a disciple of Jesus will most certainly have a place reserved at the Great Banquet of the Kingdom of God.

The parable speaks of those who were likely to be well known to the Master of the house, and upon receiving an invitation to attend the banquet, they later came to make excuse after excuse on why they couldn't come. How disappointing! Jesus is speaking of people who failed to recognise their need and sought to satisfy themselves in life by determining what their lives should be about rather than submitting to God's highest plan for them . In our western world, of self sufficiency and self-reliance, it is easy to be deceived into justifying our actions as noble and necessary. These kinds of justifications can go on to become excuses like the ones made in the parable. This applies to people who call themselves Christians as much as those that do not.

To be a Christian means that one is to be a follower of Jesus and this demands total submission to His way of living, thinking, feeling, being and doing. If we end up being people who make excuses as those in this parable, we need to question whether we are walking in His footsteps. If we aren't fully following then what are we doing? Jesus expected that those who came to believe in Him would naturally go on and follow Him as a disciple. He never saw discipleship as something for the extra serious conscientious believer; He saw it as basic for all who surrender at the foot of the cross. Following is expected to flow from saving faith.

The good news is the Master wanted his house to be full for the banquet he was preparing. He didn't stop at inviting people to come to this great feast, even though they made their excuses, and decided other things in life were more important. The Master ordered that his servant go out quickly to bring in the poor,the crippled, the blind and the lame. This group of people represents those who recognise their need. These are the people who are often overlooked and bypassed by our society - a society of people who may well be those who declined to attend the banquet because other things were more important. The Master is delighted to have this group of people at his table. Of course this speaks of God's heart to have all kinds of people in His kindgom and if we are to walk as disciples of Jesus then our heart should be moving in the same direction. Can you say this is true of you?

Still the house is not full and the Master orders the servant to get anyone who is willing to come to the banquet to do so. He orders the servant to go far and wide so that everyone will have the opportunity to attend the biggest bash ever. Again this is the heart of Father God. Is this where your heart is?

Bye for now
Oreste