“The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.”
(Psalm 19:9-10)

Thank you for joining us as two weeks ago as we praised our Lord God for our 50th Anniversary. Many people have walked through our doors and been a part of Christ’s work to proclaim his death and resurrection to all every nation, and around the town of Riverstone.

Through five decades of toil and tremendous fun, the church has played an integral part in the role of Scripture teaching, youth ministries, Bible studies, evangelistic outreaches, and compassionate care to the elderly and vulnerable.

We have also established a school that has taught hundreds of young people the truth about our glorious gospel of Jesus.

Grace and peace from Paul

“The Lord chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:1-3)

“Have you ever wondered what it feels like to have a love for the lost? It will never happen. It is impossible to love “the lost”. You can’t feel deeply for an abstraction or a concept. You would find it impossible to love deeply a nation or a race or something as vague as “all lost people”. Don’t wait for a feeling or love in order to share Christ. You already love your heavenly Father, and you know that everyone is created by Him, but separated from Him. So take those first steps in evangelism because you love God. It is not primarily out of compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost; it is first of all, love for God.” ― John Piper

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
(Ps 119:10-11)

For Christians we agree that the bible is important for our discipleship and growth. But organisations such as Scripture Union suggest that Bible reading is a neglected practice among God's people, it is also true that from time to time we can be guilty of having a superficial knowledge of scripture. So what can we do about that?

Recently I returned to the practice of memorising scripture. The reason that I did so is because I know that my thinking can take me on some pretty unhelpful journeys. I remembered how helpful it was in the past to, within the context of idle mental moments, park my mind in part of God's revelation in scripture and consciously think about things God would have me think about.

Navigators use this little picture to teach disciples different approaches scriptures and learning them. Together they can help us as we seek to be a people who are having our minds renewed by God.

Grace and peace from Marcus

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.” (Luke 11:13)

There was something about Jesus and his prayer life that impressed the disciples. In Luke 11 we see that they observe Jesus at prayer and as they do they are compelled to ask- “Lord teach us to pray.” Jesus at that point, gives them a model prayer (the one we call the Lord’s prayer), and then he tells them a parable about boldness in prayer, and an extraordinary promise that the one who asks receives and the one who seeks, finds. He then does something that gets right at the heart of revealing to us- what it should look like when a Christian person prays. He gives a story about a Father and a Son and he says of human fathers that they are fallen, flawed and broken and yet they- know how to give good gifts to their children and then Jesus says to us- how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask. This story is more than just a story, giving us a principle to remember as we pray; no it gets at the heart of true Christian prayer. True Christian prayer, is quite simply the prayer of a child talking to ones Father. Did you know that if you are in Christ, you are indeed a child of God. This means that the only way you can approach God is as his child coming to a Father-a Father who far exceeds in moral beauty, power and authority anyone’s own experience of Dad and yet has pledged himself to be our ABBA, our Father. You want to know how to pray- a pray as a child to a Father and expect his goodness, expect his gifts- the chief among which is the gift of his very presence- the Holy Spirit.

Grace and peace from Marcus

Positional sanctification: our holy status before God is ours solely because of the gracious gift of God, if we are in Christ Jesus. From this perspective there is nothing we can do to become holy, it is a status conferred upon us by faith in Jesus. We can only receive it with gratitude. What about our present spiritual condition and level of Christian maturity or conditional sanctification? Here too we must first acknowledge that holiness is God's work. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in us (Gal 5:22-23). We gain victory over sin in our lives only because God empowers us to do so (Rom 8:12-14). We grow only because the Spirit is making us more like Christ (2 Corin 3:18).

Yet the Bible clearly reveals to us that we have a role to play in our becoming more like Christ. Whilst the Spirit is the agent of our sanctification, he works through our cooperation. We must diligently apply ourselves to the task of being made more into the likeness of Christ (2 Pet. 1:5-11).

So it requires diligence to become more like Christ. Even of this of course, we are again to recognise our dependence on God, utilising his provision as we seek to combat sin, Satan and self (Eph 6:10-18, 2 Peter 1:3). But of course there is more to the Christian holiness than "sin management." There is also a positive dimension to the quest, putting on Christian character and fruit. In both these aspects of holiness our resources are many. They include Bible Study, prayer, the support of other Christians and the strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

Grace and peace from Marcus

(These words were taken from Stanley Grenz's 'Created for Community')