Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jesus I Didn't Recognise You

Do you think the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law were sincerely awaiting the coming of the Messiah? I believe they were. They didn't get what they were expecting when Jesus turned up. And yet this same Jesus was the fulfilment of the Scriptures of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law (the Old Testament). These Scriptures were what they claimed to have read, studied and applied in their lives and they failed by and large to recognise Jesus as the Messiah.

Today we have the complete Scriptures - the same Old Testament of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law and the New Testament which explains in plain language that Jesus is the Messiah and fulfilment of God's plans and purposes. We who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ or Christians are also prone to falling into the trap of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. That is we may claim to read and study the Bible and yet our lives and how we live them demonstrate that we have not recognised who Jesus is. This is evident to others because we are not living in a way that shows we are following in the Master's footsteps. Are we looking for and subsequently living for other things and not the things of God and His kingdom? It is possible for us to make Jesus into a convenient front to cover over our selfish desires and wants that lurk within our hearts.

Don't be too quick to dismiss this as something that doesn't apply to you. Consider the following questions. When did you last put another persons needs (excluding family members) ahead of your own such that it truly cost you to do so? When did you last stand up for a person who was being unjustly treated? When did you last socialise with an outcast of society because you cared about them and not because you felt you needed to do them a favour?

It would do all of us good to regularly read afresh the accounts of Jesus' life as presented in the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This won't be a comfortable experience as we read to recognise not only who Jesus is but that we are expected to be like Him in our lives. I am sure we will all recognise how far short we fall of His example. And in doing so we will recognise what the Holy Spirit is aiming to shape us into. But take heart, for the discomfort of our shortcomings can and must give way to repentance and reliance upon the Holy Spirit that will increasingly cause more of Christ Jesus to be formed in and through our lives.

I pray when Jesus comes back to planet earth, those who have been awaiting His glorious return will recognise Him and not be offended by what they see.

Take care,
Oreste

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lose Those Looks

Oreste's message on Sunday 20th March 2011 is available for download.

Oreste continues to look at the expectations Jesus has of His followers, as expressed in what has become known as the Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew. In this message the issue of faithfulness in marriage is addressed. Adultery and divorce are key areas Jesus talks about in order to clarify Father God's desires and purposes for people in marriage relationships. However what Jesus teaches us has relevance for all people because faithfulness in marriage and maintaining sexual purity as a single person are important demonstrations of faithfulness to God. This message brings a timely and sobering reminder for all people whether they are married or single, male or female.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jesus and Justice

Oreste's message on Sunday 13th March 2011 is available for download.

Father God's vision for the earth is the complete roll out of His kingdom rule and reign through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, at work through His Church. This kingdom will eventually reach perfection when Jesus physically reigns upon His return to planet earth. At Jesus' return this kingdom will fully reflect the reality of God's rule and reign as it exists perfectly in heaven. A key pillar of God's kingdom vision is justice. Thus the Church must place justice in its vision and reflect it as a core part of its activities. Justice is the expression of righteousness and Jesus Christ is the perfect example of justice in action. What does this mean for the faithful follower of Jesus where it seems injustice surrounds us personally, locally and further afield? And could we unwittingly be agents of injustice, acting in opposition to the plans and purposes of our Lord and King Jesus Christ?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It Takes Two

Oreste's message on Sunday 6th March 2011 is available for download.

In this message Oreste presents the second of the essentials for the disciple of Jesus - prayer. The essence of prayer is communication with God. When this deteriorates our relationship with the Lord becomes stagnant and we end up living a life disconnected from Him and the power of the Holy Spirit. Oreste encourages us to be active in our fellowship with the Holy Spirit and reminds us of Jesus' command that disciples are to seek the baptism with the Holy Spirit by asking Father God for this gift. Where we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit the challenge is keep being filled with the Holy Spirit. As we are active in being filled with the Spirit, prayer flows naturally and keeps us safe from the onset of communication stagnation in our relationship with God.